DAILY GOSPEL REFLECTION. “YOUR REDEMPTION IS AT HAND” (Lk 21:20–28).
Gospel of Thursday, 34th week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the Scriptures are fulfilled. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Luke (with permission)
- 20-24 Jesus gives quite a detailed prophecy of the destruction of the Holy City.
- When the Christians living there saw the armies getting closer, they remembered this prophecy and fled to Transjordan (cf. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III, 5): Christ had advised them to flee as soon as possible because this is the time when God would punish Jerusalem for its sins, as the Old Testament predicted (Is 5:5-6).
- Catholic tradition sees Israel as symbolizing the Church.
- In fact, in the book of Revelation the Church triumphant is called the heavenly Jerusalem (cf. Rev 21:2). Therefore, by applying this passage to the Church, the sufferings the Holy City experiences can symbolize the contradictions the pilgrim Church will experience due to the sins of men, for “she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God” (Vatican II, Lumen gentium, 48).
- 24 “The times of the Gentiles” means the period in which the Gentiles, who do not belong to the Jewish people, will become members of the new people of God, the Church, until the Jews themselves are converted at the end of the world (cf. Rom 11:11-32).
- 25-26 Jesus refers to the dramatic changes in natural elements when the world is coming to an end. “The power of the heavens will be shaken,” that is to say, the whole universe will tremble at the Lord’s coming in power and glory.
- 27-28 Applying to himself the prophecy of Daniel (7:13-14), our Lord speaks of his coming in glory at the end of time.
- Mankind will see the power and glory of the Son of man, coming to judge the living and the dead.
- Christ will deliver this judgment in his human capacity.
- Sacred Scripture describes the solemnity of this event, when the sentence passed on each person in the particular judgment will be confirmed, and God’s justice and mercy to men throughout history will shine cut for all to see.
- “It was necessary not only that rewards should await the just and punishments the wicked, in the life to come, but that they should be awarded by a public and general judgment. Thus they will become better known and will be rendered more conspicuous to all and a tribute of praise will be offered by all to the justice and Providence of God” (Catechism of the Council of Trent, I, 8, 4).
- This coming of the Lord is, then, a day of terror for evildoers and of joy for those who have remained faithful.
- The disciples should hold their heads high because their redemption is at hand. It is the day they will receive their reward.
- The victory won by Christ on the Cross — victory over sin, over the devil and over death — will now be seen clearly, with all its implications.
- Therefore St Paul recommends that we be “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:13).
- “He [Christ] ascended into heaven whence he will come again to judge the living and the dead, each according to his merits. Those who have responded to the love and compassion of God will go into eternal life. Those who have refused them to the end will be consigned to the fire that is never extinguished” (Paul VI, Creed of the People of God, 12).
Dear brethren in Christ, the sufferings of this world borne with faith, hope, and love of God, are worthwhile when we consider them in the light of our particular judgment and the Second Coming of Christ. What does it matter then if we are subjected to the difficulties of this world for a transitory period of time, when we will have an eternity of happiness in union with God and all the saints in heaven?
Let us then ask God’s grace to unite ourselves with the Passion and Death of Our Lord everytime we are burdened by life’s difficulties.
A great day ahead and God bless! Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
Topic: ARE WE CONFIDENT OF OUR PREPARATIONS FOR JESUS’ SECOND COMING?
In today’s gospel (Luke 21:20-28), Jesus foretells the destruction of the holy city of Jerusalem and its temple. “It was not only the focus of religious ritual but also the repository of the Holy Scriptures and other national literature and the meeting place of the Sanhedrin, the highest court of Jewish law during the Roman period” (Britannica).
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