The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Benigno Beltran SVD (Quezon City, Philippines)
Tuesday 34th Week in Ordinary Time
Photo: Saint Michael the Archangel Parish Church, Irosin, Sorsogon
Jesus’s prophetic words about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, when no stone will be left upon another stone, came to be fulfilled when the city fell to an invading Roman army in 70 A.D. Advancing on the city from the north, Titus, the son of Emperor Vespasian, commanded his legions to erect siege walls and finally took the city. The temple was destroyed only three years after its completion, the priesthood and council were disbanded, and all Jews were expelled from what was left of the city. It was a heavy price the Jews had to pay for not recognizing the Messiah in their midst. More than 600 years before this event, the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and burned the city. This also came about as a result of God’s judgment.
As one looks at the world today, one is gripped with anxiety and fear, confused and troubled whether the end times prophesied by Jesus are about to come. Never-ending conflicts, economies crashing, and the constant prophesying of doomsday prophets can make one feel very unsettled. Are these signs of the end of the world?
The fact that Jesus said that no one knows precisely when he will return underscores the need for his followers to be watchful and dutiful in serving God. Hence, instead of building temples, reaching business goals, acquiring material possessions, climbing career ladders, worldly goals that are often ultimately self- serving and self-destructive, we ought to stand firm in faithful loyalty and service to God. We should not build monuments to our own accomplishments and not fall victim to the seductive dangers of the world because all these things will pass away.
Today, Jesus reassures believers that God is advancing his plan and that, one day, deliverance will come. There will be painful events in our lives; even our own families may oppose us, as the following verses recount. There will be wars, earthquakes, famines, and deception. There will be many martyrs. We are to keep watch, stand fast and trust in God’s kairos. In this horizon of anticipation, we are helped by our faith that God will make things right for his children in the end.
In this light, he wants us to establish our identity as his children, created by him to carry out good works as responsible people in his kingdom. This is the meaning of our lives; this constitutes our sense of purpose. We should be looking for him constantly, waiting for him and serving him in eager expectation, no matter when that time will come.