Gospel Reflections (Luke 21:5-19)
Luke was writing his gospel after the devastation of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 AD, and the way he frames the words of Jesus suggests that he had witnessed the devastation. Massive blocks of stone, thrown down from the walls, are still lying there as they fell, scattered at the base of the Temple. The message of this passage is, then, the same as Paul’s in today’s second reading: the end is sure, but is not yet. Jesus prepares his followers for what is to come before the cataclysmic finale. He warns against false Messiahs, political leaders or other saviour-figures who claim to ‘put the world to rights’. His followers will be continually challenged to give an account of their beliefs, harassed and martyred in every age, betrayed by those they thought their friends. There is a promise that Jesus will provide the words and wisdom for Christians to make a reply to their persecutors; there is a promise too of protection from real harm – but there is no promise that it will be a quiet and easy life. A constant theme in Luke’s Good News is that the followers of Jesus must follow him in his difficulties and trials. Only with like endurance will they stay true to him and keep in his footsteps. Reflection: Recall an occasion when the Lord gave you wisdom beyond your own.
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