The day of justice is coming, says the Lord.
Sing praise to God, who rules with justice.
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Paul urges the community to follow his example and to earn their keep.
Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and warns his followers that persecution will come before the end time.
Gospel LK 21:5-19
While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
“Before all this happens, however,
they will seize and persecute you,
they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
and they will have you led before kings and governors
because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
Background on the Gospel Reading
In the context of Luke, today’s Gospel appears near the end of Jesus’ teaching in Jerusalem, just prior to the events that will lead to his crucifixion. His warnings and predictions are ominous but can be read in many ways.
To those who first heard Luke’s Gospel, those may have been words of encouragement. The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans was history (70 A.D.); Luke’s Gospel, Catholic scholars propose, was written between 80 and 90 A.D. His audience was probably Gentile Christians. Luke here tries to interpret the fall of Jerusalem for them and to locate it in God’s plans for humankind (salvation history). At the same time, Luke is suggesting to his audience that there will be a considerable elapse of time before Jesus’ final coming. Luke’s listeners have likely seen much upheaval and are anxious to know if these are the signs of Jesus’ coming. Luke is urging greater patience.
In the second part of today’s Gospel, Jesus warns that his followers will face persecution for their beliefs. Luke presents persecution as an opportunity for the followers of Jesus for “It will lead to your giving testimony” (Luke 21:13). In persecution God’s wisdom and power will be shown in the example of followers of Jesus. Perseverance in the face of persecution will lead to their salvation.
Here Jesus is assuring his followers that God is present to all believers, even in times of trouble. Ultimately, Jesus will witness to this with his own death. As disciples of Jesus, we try to follow his example, trusting in God’s mercy and protection, even when we are facing difficulties.
Children, while innocently naïve about most world events, are also profoundly sensitive to the concerns felt by adults. We can help children interpret adult concerns by sharing information about current events in appropriate ways. We can also put these concerns in the light of God’s kingdom and the assurance of God’s care for us.
Discuss with your children one or more current events or a situation in your family which shows difficulties that may challenge our trust in a God who cares for us. Then read together today’s Gospel, Luke 21:5-19. Notice how Jesus said that even when his disciples are persecuted, God would be with them.
Together with your children, talk about ways in which God might bring good out of the difficult events you discussed. Talk together about some actions you might take as a family to make better the situations you discussed. Conclude by praying for the needs of the people involved in the events you named. In prayer, place each of these difficult situations into God’s hands.
Sources: Loyola Press; Sunday Readings