Christ Jesus fully reveals the love of God. And since no one and nothing at all can separate us from this love, we more than overcome.
Does not the reality or possibility of natural disasters and social unrests frighten us? Do we, then, not wonder if we could save our lives and overcome? And does it not cross our minds that maybe Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel are now coming true?
If all this frightens us, then, we shall not overcome. We can easily fall prey to sects that worry too much about the end of the world. But Jesus tells us not to follow the self-righteous who say, “The time has come.”
Jesus, moreover, does not want us to be frightened. Even his words of warning are spirit and life (Jn 6, 63), giving us not cowardice but courage (see 2 Tim 1, 7). They are part, yes, of the Good News.
And so, there is good news when Jesus foretells destruction. For it tells us that he loves his own people. So much so that he weeps for them and Jerusalem, with its temple that is so much part of the Jewish consciousness.
Jesus wants his people to enjoy true peace. And that is why, wholly true to Jeremiah’s prophecy (7, 2-7), he tells them not to fool themselves. They are not to put their trust on something of which nothing will be left someday. In other words, their false sense of security has to go. It means, among other things, that temple worship needs to give way to worship in Spirit and truth. And such worship entails doing justice and caring for the poor (Is 58, 6-7).
We shall overcome by clinging steadfastly to Jesus.
The destruction of so much of our “temple” upsets many of those who grew up in Christian countries. The low and high Masses in Latin. Golden vessels, silken vestments, elaborate rituals. The grip and sway that the Church has on and over society.
But there is good news in all of this: we can go back to basics. To giving ourselves to the teaching of the apostles. To being a community of believers of one heart and mind, where there is no needy person. Where every day is a World Day of the Poor. And to the breaking of bread and to the prayers. We can, then, be the Church of the poor again, clinging to Jesus above all and keeping the true religion (SV.EN.XI:190). Honoring him in the person of the poor (see St. John Chrysostom).
And there is, moreover, good news in persecution, imprisonment, trials and hatred because of Jesus’ name. In toil and drudgery, too. For all this will make for our bearing witness to him, happy to suffer for the sake of his name.
Lord Jesus, may you truly be our temple. And make us your sacrament, the house of God and the gate of heaven on earth, so that we may overcome.
17 November 2019
33rd Sunday in O.T. (C)
Mal 3, 19-20a; 2 Thes 3, 7-12; Lk 21, 5-19