Malachi 3: 19 - 20A
2 Thessalonians 3: 7 - 12
Luke 21: 5 - 19
To wait trustingly and to persevere without fail...
For those who are admiring the Temple, Jesus, in one of the eschatalogical discourses, stresses the building's fragility. He proclaims both the end of the Temple and the judgment of Jerusalem. Undoubtedly, the Evangelist is alluding to the fall of Jerusalem and its destruction in the year 70. Traditionally, the Temple was considered as Gods house in Jerusalem. The disappearance of the Temple will pose the crucial question of Gods presence in the midst of his people. The disciples ask Jesus when all this will happen and the signs by which they could recognize the imminence of the event. Asking the question in this way, they seem to associate the destruction of the Temple with the end of time. For Jesus, this is the occasion to speak of the end of the world and, above all, to draw attention to all that should precede it.
He invites his listeners to discern the signs of the times, to avoid the traps of the false messiahs and, at the same time, not to let themselves give in to discouragement in the face of the terrible things that will fall upon them. The course of history, the world-shattering events, the force of evil (endured and committed) in our own lives, are indeed questions for us.
In any case, they should not lead us to the kind of despair that questions the presence of God in our life or Gods interest and concern for us. "Not a hair of your head will fall" Jesus promises. But this promise has its demands: It is by your perseverance that you will secure your lives.
In other words, grace does not exclude responsibility; rather, it creates it. Salvation is a gift to receive and a task to accomplish. As believers, let us be as Ezekiel asks (3: 17): firm in our hope and persevering in faith, watchmen established by God for the human community, especially in the time of trial.
—Sr. Sophie Ramond, R.A.