34th Week in Ordinary Time, Thursday

In today’s Gospel we catch a glimpse of an evangelist who was not an eye witness to everything Our Lord said. Luke’s account of Our Lord’s prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple takes into account not only what Our Lord taught, but how the first generation of Christians understood it when it happened. They could have easily fallen into doubt about what Jerusalem’s impending destruction at the hands of the Romans meant, which is why Our Lord told them to flee, knowing that while that moment was the end of “a” world, it not the end of “the” world.

Our Lord interweaves his predictions regarding the Temple with teaching on his Second Coming, the return of the Son of Man in power. As we’ve already seen this week, cultural, social, and even cosmic upheavals will take place, and they’ll be terrifying, but they won’t immediately be the end. Today Our Lord describes his return using the imagery of the Book of Daniel, a language every Jew of his time would understand. As he reminds us, when he returns in glory, a Christian has no need to cringe or to cower, because redemption is at hand: deliverance from pain, suffering, evil and fear. As Christians we know his mercy endures forever. The only people who need to be afraid of Our Lord’s return are those who reject his message or his mercy, and we pray for them always to welcome the Gospel and to welcome true and lasting happiness.

Let’s ask Our Lord today to help us identify those moments of upheaval in our lives and to discern whether it is a moment to stand tall, seeing God’s hand at work to deliver us, of retreat, knowing some evil is beyond our ability to address, or of defeat, asking Our Lord for his intervention and his mercy.

Readings: Daniel 6:12–28; Daniel 3:68–74; Luke 21:20–28.