33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading I: Malachi 3:19-20 II: 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
5 And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said,
6 "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."
7 And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?"
8 And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and, 'The time is at hand!' Do not go after them.
9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once."
10 Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake.
13 This will be a time for you to bear testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer;
15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.
16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death;
17 you will be hated by all for my name's sake.
18 But not a hair of your head will perish.
19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
(v.5) For the Hebrew people, the Temple of Jerusalem was the center of all their hope.
(v.6) When Luke wrote his Gospel (around A.D. 80 or 85), Jesus had already died, risen and ascended. The city and the Temple of Jerusalem were already destroyed. Luke wanted to present Jesus as a "prophet mighty in word and deed."
(v.7) "these things": the antecedent of these things changes from the destruction of the Temple to the destruction of Jerusalem and then to the destruction of the entire world.
(v.8) Disciples should not confuse the destruction of the Temple with the return of Jesus, "Son of Man". Fear and expectation will make people vulnerable to false messages and fake messiahs.
(vv.9-11) The signs that Jesus had mentioned such as wars, earthquake, plagues, famines, awesome sights, mighty signs can be observed in every age. They indicate that the end is indeed coming, but they are no help in determining the day or the hour.
(vv.12-15) Jesus' disciples are not to become frantic and anxious about the coming to bear witness. They must not worry about what to say in the time of trial; they will speak with a divine wisdom that no one can contradict. The role of the Holy Spirit is addressed.
(vv.16-18) Like Jesus, his followers should suffer these things to enter his glory. The promise that no harm will come even to one hair seems strange in the prediction of persecution. It is simply a graphic statement of the ultimate spiritual protection to all those who endure the persecution in the name of Jesus.
One Main Point
Persevering in a state of grace to the end in spite of difficulties and persecution leads to eternal salvation.
Most of us are very scared when talking of the end of the world. Have you ever thought "the end is indeed ended when you turn your back to God?" Go back to your own world and reflect this question.
Compare the phrase "...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"
with the phrase "It will lead to your giving testimony."
Have you experienced these challenges? Ask yourself a question on how you can bear witness to God in your daily life.
Jesus was completely honest when revealing what we must expect if we choose to follow Him. However, He had promised that his followers never meet their tribulations alone. Remember our Saints or our martyrs, to ascertain that God was always with them. When they were tortured and when they were awaiting death, they had experienced sweet times with God. A prison can be like a palace, a scaffold like a throne, the storms of life like summer weather, when God is with them. Meditate the joy of those who bear witness to God.