Gospel Reading and Thoughts for November 17, 2013

Gospel – Luke 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”jesus-teaching

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

 

This is one of those readings that I’d rather not hear about – destruction, tragedy, persecution.  Not fun at all!  But Jesus is telling his disciples this to make them brave and confident in their faith. 

My kids are creatures of habit.  They also thrive on knowing what the schedule is, what is the plan for the day.  I envision that is what Christ is doing for his disciples and for all of us.  It would be easier to perservere if we knew it was going to be hard from the start.  If we thought that living our Christian faith was a walk-in-the-park, we may be awfully discouraged when we face challenges, questions and trials.  But in this aspect, we know that we are on the right path, always getting closer to God because we can see tragedies and violent wars in the news.  We know of missionaries who are persecuted to their deaths.  We may even have experienced unkindnesses because of our own faith life – I know my kids take a bit of flack when they pray before lunch at school.  But all this is drawing us closer to our time with God and we know that He will be with us through every moment, every experience – good and bad – throughout our lives.

 

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