End Times

Written by Sr. Rosemary, O.P.
Readings from: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112619.cfm

You may have noticed in the bulletin these last couple of weeks that we’ve been enumerating and explaining the 12 promises, one by one, that Jesus made to our patroness, St. Margaret Mary, and to those who honor and are devoted to his Sacred Heart.  The 4th promise Jesus made is this:

They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.”

This is so comforting and certainly something to ponder as we listen to the prophetic readings about the end times, whether that end time is our personal death, or the end of this world.  Jesus is reminding us that the future lies in His hands and nothing can destroy us if we remain true to him as our Lord.

To the great consternation of the Jews, Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. The Temple at Jerusalem in Jesus’ time was a magnificent building and one of the wonders of the world. As the Gospel tells us it had been more than 40 years in the making. The Jewish people took great pride in their temple, a marvel of the ancient world. To refer to the destruction of their only Temple in Jerusalem was like referring to the destruction of the Jewish people’s very identity.

The people asked Jesus for a sign that would indicate when this disastrous event would occur. Jesus admonished them to not look for signs that would indicate the exact timing of impending destruction, but rather to pray for God's intervention of grace and mercy.

What meaning do these readings hold for us?

Endings in life, especially painful ones like the death of a loved one, a divorce, health challenges, etc., remind us of our mortality and the shortness of time. Our readings this week are forcing us to meditate on the temporariness of all things. Because we do it within the Liturgy, however, it’s not a dreary or terrible subject. It’s about life and death together – the inseparable mystery, the Paschal mystery.

The images presented today are certainly scary, but biblically, they’re presented not as a terrifying warning, but as an encouragement.  If we’re trying our best to follow Jesus, there is no need for fear.  Jesus has already won our salvation and we can live in his love.  His grace is there for us in abundance to accomplish whatever he asks of us, and his promise to be with us to the end is real.

As Advent approaches soon, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are spiritually and face God honestly about our destiny.  God is near; God is here.