The Gospel of the Day – 2016.11.13
The Destruction of the Temple Foretold…
When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’
‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’
Beware the False Prophet
Jesus did not utter these words. They were penned by the gospel writers, years after the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, years after the war with Rome that led to its destruction, and years after they were dispelled from Roman occupied Palestine.
Jesus was not a fortuneteller, he did not predict the future. God, the creator of the universe, God has not preordained anything.
Do not be deceived.
These are the best words, the best advice for living in the gospel reading for today. Do not be deceived. Many will come and claim to be Jesus. Every generation has such pretenders.
The gospel writers were pretending to be Jesus when they put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They thought they were doing good. Most of those who pretend to be Jesus think they are doing something good, or at the least they think they are doing something necessary. The gospel writers were no different in this.
The other message is simple. Do not be afraid.
The world will continue to be a violent, and an unsafe place. We live in a hard and dangerous world. Have hope.
If you dedicate your life to challenging those in power, you must expect that they will act against you. If you should find yourself in court simply because you are working on behalf of the poor, and the marginalized. Do not worry about your defense. Your actions will speak for themselves.
Speak truth to power. The rest will sort itself out.
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time