November 24, 2016 (Thursday)

St. Andrew Dung-Lac, priest, and Companions, martyrs   

Rv 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a • Ps 100

Lk 21:20-28



Jesus said to his disciples: 20“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. 21Then 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, 22for these days are the time of punishment when all the Scriptures are fulfilled. 23Woe 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. 24They 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.

25“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. 26People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”




Jesus tells his disciples to stand erect to meet the last day. They may see armies surrounding Jerusalem poised to raze it to the ground. Jesus advises the disciples not to go into the city but to flee to the mountains. They should run for their lives. Jerusalem is not safe. It is not impregnable at all, even if it is defended by many highly motivated Zealots.

Again, Luke is writing after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He makes use of this familiar past to instruct his readers on how to cope with the terrestrial events preceding the Lord’s coming.

There are also extraterrestrial signs. The sun, the moon, and other heavenly bodies will behave differently from their usual courses and will send chaos to the earth. The imagery is frightening. Everyone will be affected. No corner on earth will be safe.

When Jesus says, “Stand erect,” the disciples should be happy despite the cataclysms because the time of redemption is near. Jesus is coming to vindicate his faithful disciples and will save them from total destruction. He says, “Raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” Jesus is taking them back to his safety where no one will live again in terror.

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