When You Hear of Troubled Times, Don't Be Frightened
Gospel Reflection for November 22, 2022: Luke 21:5-11
And as some spoke of the Temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, Jesus said, “As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked Him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?” And He said, “Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
Luke 21:5-11 can seem scary. Wars, earthquakes, tumult and turmoil … who wants that? We have enough unrest in the world today—is Jesus telling us we can expect even worse things to come?
Actually, no. In truth, Jesus is telling us to have faith and hope. These two virtues ultimately lead to love—which is what will save the world.
Christ’s love, sacrificial and redemptive, has already saved the world.
In Luke 21:5-6, Jesus is foretelling the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, a terrifying even that happened in 70 A.D. Many of Christ’s original followers were still alive at the time, and were able to recall His words with awe and trepidation. The destruction of the Temple symbolized the destruction of everything the Jewish people held sacred. Their enemies had won.
Or had they?
As we obsess over the latest news or brood over the culture of death we now find modern society immersed in, it can be easy to give in to the despair, fearing that our enemies have won.
However, despair isn’t from God—in fact, it’s a trick of our Adversary, the roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), our true Enemy who is the driving force behind all sin and toxicity in our world.
Jesus tells it like it is. He doesn’t promise a return to perfection of the Garden of Eden, because that would be a lie. Yes, His death and Resurrection heralded in a new era of forgiveness, salvation and eternal redemption. However, we still live in a fallen world; Jesus’ saving sacrifice didn’t yank way our God-given free will.
Instead of offering false platitudes, Jesus warns us of what we can expect in this fallen world. Earthquakes, famines and pestilences have always been with us, and always will be.
Despite the perceived terror of the fallen world, Jesus gives us hope in salvation—not only our own salvation, but the joyous opportunity to allow His love to help us bring His peace and truth to others.
We are called, amidst the struggles of this world, to evangelize. Society is transformed not by changing laws, but by transforming hardened hearts. When hearts change, other changes necessarily follow.
This will be your opportunity to bear witness … By your endurance you will gain your lives.
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“However, we still live in a fallen world.”
And this is what makes reading Rohr so frustrating (and slow because I need to take breaks from his nonsense) because he mocks the idea of the fall and the need for Jesus’ sacrifice to save us.
He writes, “For the first two thousand years of Christianity, we framed our faith in terms of a problem and a threat.” (Rohr, 18)
No; Rohr, that is the state of the fallen world.
Our faith, which Jenny describes here, is one that Christians frame with hope.
I agree with both David and Jenny. I think it is highly possible we are in the end times. I have been studying history since a teen. I am now 75. History is a passion of mine.There has never been an era of time quite like this one in which all prophecies and predictions are coming together. Though Jesus says and I accept that we will not know the exact day or hour. He does promise red flags and urges us to be aware of them. Peter tells us that a thousands years are as 1day to God. The Church rightly teaches that though we don't know the exact date of the end times, a term I dislike because its misleading,, as The end times are really the beginning or new times. Anyway the Church teaches that regardless of when 'the end times' come, or own personal end/beginning times can happen at any moment in our lives, so be ready. That brings me to the main point here. As Jenny says our focus should not be on governments, new laws, new political anything. Our focus should be on changing hearts (starting with our own, of course). Paul, who if you read carefully loved the Law of God, warned us that it is a teaching tool with no power to change us or the world. Our hearts must change which is accomplished in and through Christ Jesus. Unite and renew our hearts in the Heart of Christ! Then we are ready for which ever 'end/new time' comes to us first!