NOVEMBER 17, 2019 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (Lec. 159)
1) Malachi 3:19-20a
2) 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
3) Luke 21:5-19 Gospel related: CCC 675
FOCUS: Things of this world are transitory; our only security is in God.
The Gospel passage today hints at a lack of security found in all of our lives. It begins with disciples commenting on the costly adornments of the Temple, the center of Jewish worship. Yet Jesus explains that in the future, even the magnificent Temple will come down: the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone.
In what can we be secure? Not the riches or the material possessions of this world.
Jesus continues: Many will come in my name, saying “I am he,” and “the time has come.” Do not follow them! In whom can we be secure? Not the preachers who claim to have all the answers.
What about our family? According to Jesus, some will be betrayed and hurt even by their own family members.
Jesus seems to imply that as much as we would like to put our faith into what we can see, what we can touch, what we can experience in this life, we simply cannot. Our security cannot lie with anything that is transitory; it cannot rest with anything that is of this world.
Perhaps one reason – perhaps the main reason – we feel so distressed when we lose something or someone of value is because we had anchored our sense of self to that thing or to that person. How many of us, for example, have felt adrift after the loss of a job, the loss of a valuable item, the damage to a reputation or the end of a relationship? It was part of us, part of our identity, a part of our security.
The writer of the Gospel, Luke, certainly understands this. He is writing to a community of believers who have seen the Temple destroyed, who have suffered persecution because of their faith in Christ. Yet there is hope. Jesus tells his followers: Do not be terrified. Although they will be surrounded by wars, by persecution, by adversities, they can persevere. Somehow God will sustain them. How? We don’t know. But like the bird who migrates long distances or the fish who is carried by the river to the sea, we trust that God will get us where we need to be. Our security is God, not the events of our life or the passing things of this world.