Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 Rv 14:14-19; Gospel Lk21:5-11
The Temple at Jerusalem in Jesus’ time was a magnificent building and one of the wonders of the world. As the Gospel tells us it had been more than 40 years in the building and was not yet completed. External beauty and magnificence are attractive but we must learn to see beyond and read the signs of the times. When he foretold the destruction of the temple he did not exactly refer to the mighty Jerusalem temple, though history proved his words true. Jesus’ warning is that his followers should not misread the signs or be too alarmed. The early Christians were in general expecting Jesus to return for his Second Coming within their lifetime. This must have led to many false alarms. People claiming to be the returned Lord or warning that the end of all things was close at hand. Even the destruction of the temple must have looked like the beginning of the end.
Jesus told his followers not to be too ready to believe what they hear people saying. Nor were they to be too alarmed when they hear of wars and social upheavals. There will be, too, many natural disasters, widespread diseases and celestial phenomena. These do not necessarily spell the end. Jesus gives us the message that the end does not follow immediately. At every pivotal time in the history of our planet, there are people who claim to see the end in sight. The coming of the third millennium was no exception. So far they have all been wrong. The attitude of Christians is not to be one of fear and anxiety. It sees the new era as a time of challenge and opportunity, a time for new beginnings. It does not help us to become fearful and anxious but rather to live each day to the full and to make it productive for ourselves and others.