November 22, 2016 (Tuesday)

St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr

Rv 14:14-19 • Ps 96

Lk 21:5-11



5While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, 6“All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

7Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” 8He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! 9When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” 10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”


From today until Saturday, the Gospel readings will be about the end of the world. The theology that deals with the end-time is eschatology.

Some people ask Jesus when the end of the world will be. Jesus’ answer is clear. No one knows when the world will end. Yet some people or groups claim they know it. Sometimes called millenniarists, they thrive best at the turn of a millennium, a thousand years, or during disasters.

In the Gospel, Jesus teaches that there is an end to everything, no matter beautiful things may be. Jesus says this while the Temple is being lauded for its ornate beauty.

From the historical point of view, the Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Writing his gospel, Luke uses this past traumatic event to teach about the end-time. Earlier, in Pauline communities, the Christians were already keen on the Lord’s return. They believed it imminent. Some even stopped working because they thought Jesus would come very soon.

In the Gospel, Jesus teaches us to be discerning. Before he comes, we must be able to read the signs of the times, like wars and insurrections, and prepare accordingly. We do it now in the context of prayer, liturgy, and charity work. Participation at the Eucharist is the best preparation to meet the end.

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