Malachi 3:19-20/Psalm 98:5-6,7-8,9/2 Thessalonians 3:7-12/Luke 21:5-19
Keeping through Hard times and End Times
In the gospel Jesus teaches about the destruction of the temple and the coming of the son of man. For the Jews destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is equivalent to the end of the world. Precisely for this reason the Church uses this gospel for the end of the liturgical year. The Church wants us to reflect on the end of the world. Literally, it is a gospel that was addressed to the Jews; but the rest of us can learn from it. If the Temple can be destroyed then; any other thing can be destroyed. Therefore this gospel invites us to reflect on end times.
End times or last days refer to both the conclusion of history at some future point, and primarily to the last two thousand years. Heb 1:1-2 says God, after He spoke to the fathers in the prophets in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, Therefore, it was the Incarnation or birth of Christ, that ushered in the end times and the last days. These are the last days but when it will end we don’t know.
The basic lines of this end times teaching are, death, judgment, heaven or hell. However, we have become too familiar with the end times talk that many don’t believe it is true, for some end times ‘nah scam’ people even make joke of it as we have it in social media almost recently, for some it is like the empty promises of some politicians. When somebody says I have been hearing that Jesus will come, Jesus will come why has he not come, tell the person that it is because of him. 2Pet3:9 says “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Therefore, the deepest teaching about the end of the world is not about its physical ending, but about how you and I should be living now.
The gospel of today can be divided into 3 different parts:
1.Destruction of the temple: (Luke 21:5-6) A temple is a building reserved for religious or spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. It was David who conceived in his heart to build a temple for the Lord. But the temple was built and dedicated to God by King Solomon. He began to build it in about the year 969B.C. 1kings 6:38 shows that it was completed at the Eleventh year. Later on it was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar; and then it was rebuilt and dedicated. Much later it was remodeled by Herod the great and was in use until it was destroyed in 70A.D by Titus. According to the scripture Ezra 6:14 it was rebuilt by the decree of Cyrus and Darius and king Artaxerxes the King of Persia.
In today’s gospel Jesus says the temple shall be destroyed. This saying is important to them and to us. We must remember that the people of Jerusalem who were building up and decorating the House of God were the same people who were planning to destroy the son of God. If they were able to see God in the adornments of stone and gold, why couldn’t they recognize Him in flesh and blood? The more people exalted the temple as the house of God, the less they esteemed the human person made in the image of God. We are told in Catechism, of which must we take more care of; “Our body or our soul? And we responded our soul. The Temple in Jerusalem was very beautiful but it did not last. Therefore we have a new understanding of what the Temple is. We are told in the New Testament in 1Cor.3:16 that we are the Temple of God. The Temple in Jerusalem did not last; but we are destined to last forever, because our soul is immortal. By this I mean our soul can never die. Therefore, let us take good care of that which can never die. Don’t clean the pews in the Church and forgets to clean your hearts.
In the First reading Malachi spoke with no pity, he says the day comes burning like oven, when all arrogant andevil doers will be stubble (corn stem cut shot or the hair on a man’s face who has not yet shaved) as if that is not enough Malachi says the day that come shall burn them up. So let us stop our evil deeds for he says to those who fear the name of the Lord the sun of righteousness shall rise. The bible says about the righteous in Ps.92:12 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” Ps. 1:1-6 further describe the hope of the righteous from that of the sinner. Therefore, let us repent that we may not perish.
2. The second point in today’s gospel is about the deceptive signs of the end times. The gospel says, they asked him “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign… he answered take heed that you are not led astray.” In Mark 13:32 Jesus says “about the day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. Acts 1:7 says “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.” Hear me all predictions in this regard ARE LIES. Many preachers and prophets claim to know when the world will end, they give different predictions, Jesus says do not follow them, they have bastardized the function of a prophet. A prophet is not a soothsayer but a truthsayer. To say the truth is to say exactly what Christ has said. What is it that he has said – only the Father knows. Therefore, don’t follow them.
We must stand against all lies. (that is how one Preacher wrote I saw one time that the world was ending next week, and at the end of that next week he wrote again, that the world was miraculously saved) many others predicted in history: people like Hilary of Poitiers and his disciple Martin of Tours, but they failed, the height of it was the year 2000 the Cataclysmic crust displacement Charles Hapgood (it asserts that sometimes the Earth spins really fast and the continents rearrange.) but Richard W. Noone failed, again, in that same 2000 was the Collapse of civilization. Christian preachers in Papua New Guinea predicted the end; they failed. Then, in 2019: Ronald Weinland, whose prediction failed in 2011, 2012, and 2013, says it will definitely happen on June 9, 2019; but failed. These predictions will continue to fail, for Christ said do not follow them, don’t follow star readings, and many others, follow Christ.
3. This brings us to the third section of the gospel, persecution of the disciples (21:12-19), beloved in Christ, Jesus clearly stated that we shall be persecuted, he said do not worry about what to say, Ps.81:10 says I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, open your mouth wide and I will fill it. Hear me, no one under grace and power lack words amidst persecutions.Matt.10:20 says “For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” This becomes our confidence to follow Christ.
Persecution will definitely come but Christ says by your endurance you will gain your lives. Endurance basically means that you have to stay focused and continue the journey in spite of thousands of obstacles. People are not interested in how you stated but how you will end. If you can’t endure you can’t enjoy.
Again, having our lives and gaining it are two different things just as having a bible and gaining it are different. We can have a bible by paying some money for it but we gain it by reading and assimilating the content. We can have a field by purchasing one; but we gain it when we cultivate it. And soul having a soul and gaining it are different; all of us have a soul; but we gain it by acquiring knowledge and practicing virtue. We lose our soul souls through sin, we gain it by righteousness. And the bible asked, what is your profit when you lose your soul? God Keep us.
Keep Me True
Keep me true. Lord Jesus, keep me true
Keep me true. Lord Jesus, keep me true
There’s a race that I must run
There are victories to be won
Give me power, every hour, to be true
Fr. Dan Evbotokhai 17/11/2019