The Lord Comes to Rule the Earth with Justice

Readings for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus as soon as overheard a dialog in regards to the glory of the Temple in Jerusalem.  He then made a startling prediction.  What was it?

Gospel (Read Lk 21:5-19)

St. Luke tells us Jesus had a dialog with His disciples in regards to the Temple in Jerusalem.  It started when “some folks had been talking about how the Temple was adorned with pricey stones and votive choices.”  To the Jews of Jesus’ day, the Temple was the signature image of their lengthy covenant with God as His folks.  It was the place on earth the place God and man actually met, an encounter that happened every year in its inside chamber, the Holy of Holies.  On the Day of Atonement, the excessive priest would enter and make a sacrifice for the sins of the folks, and God’s glory would come down and overshadow the “mercy seat” on the Ark of the Covenant as He accepted the providing and granted forgiveness (see Lev 16).  Over Israel’s lengthy historical past, the Temple started to be revered as an indication that nothing would ever change God’s relationship with His folks.  If God dwelt of their midst, how may they be something however protected?

If we all know this, we are going to perceive how disturbing it will need to have been for anybody to listen to Jesus’ startling prophecy:  “The days will come when there won’t be a stone left upon one other stone that won’t be thrown down.”  Naturally, this provoked questions:  “When will this occur?  And what signal will there be when all this stuff are about to occur?”  We may need our personal query:  Why would God permit the sacred image of the Temple to be destroyed?

In Jesus’ day, the Temple had truly develop into an empty image.  There was little rigor within the faith of the Jews; it had develop into largely externalized (keep in mind Jesus’ cleaning of the Temple as a result of it was meant to be a “home of prayer”).  In addition, the Temple sacrifices had been by no means meant to be ends in themselves.  How may animal blood in the end atone for human sin?  The Temple, with its magnificence and sacred motion, pointed towards one thing past itself.  When Jesus got here in to the world, He got here to be the human success of the animal sacrifices.  Innocent human blood would atone for human sin within the New Covenant He made with us.  By His Death and Resurrection, He grew to become the brand new Living Temple of God, the place God and man—all folks, not simply the Jewish excessive priest—meet.  Believers, as St. Peter tells us, at the moment are being constructed as dwelling stones on this religious Temple, the Mystical Body of Christ (see 1 Pet 2:5).  The Temple in Jerusalem was not needed; it had served its function.

Yet why did the Temple need to be “thrown down”?  Why not simply hold it as a relic of sacred architectural historical past for the Jews and the entire world?  To reply this query, Jesus describes a time of horrible turmoil.  We know that He was predicting a coming judgment on Jerusalem—God’s simply judgment on its rejection of Jesus as their Messiah.  Within only one era of this assertion, about forty years, the Romans entered the town and sacked it (70 A.D.).  Nothing was left of the Temple besides a portion of 1 wall (the Wailing Wall, nonetheless standing right this moment).  Jesus’ phrases had been actually fulfilled.  The sack of the town was preceded by three years of horrible mayhem inside its partitions.  Many insurrectionists claimed to be the Messiah despatched from God to ship Judah militarily from Rome.  Factions shaped and warred in opposition to one another.  A devastating famine grew so extreme that animal sacrifices within the Temple got here to an finish as a result of there have been no extra animals.  When the Romans lastly did enter the town, there was a blood bathtub.  It was horrific.  The Temple needed to come down not as a result of it was outdated however as a result of it had develop into a logo of the disobedience of God’s folks.

However, we see Jesus advised His disciples that “earlier than all this occurs” they’d endure their very own upheaval due to persecution:  “They will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they’re going to have you ever led earlier than kings and governors due to My Name.”  He additionally warned them that their constancy to Him may price them relationships with household and associates.  Some would know betrayal and even demise.  Remarkably, Jesus advised the disciples to not put together their protection beforehand, as a result of “I Myself shall offer you a knowledge in talking that each one your adversaries might be powerless to withstand or refute” (see Acts 6:9-10, the martyrdom of St. Stephen, for instance of this promise’s success).  In the approaching time of trial for the disciples, perseverance could be needed:  “By your perseverance you’ll safe your lives.”

We know each time Jesus spoke within the Gospels in regards to the destruction of the Temple and the approaching judgment on Judah’s covenant unfaithfulness, He was additionally foreshadowing God’s Final Judgment on the entire world on the finish of time.  The Jews believed the Temple to be an architectural microcosm of the universe—a form of reproduction of heaven assembly earth, of God and man collectively.  If the Temple was destined to return to an finish due to disobedience, so is that this world.   So, though most of what Jesus mentioned in regards to the Temple and the destiny of Jerusalem was meant for folks dwelling in His day, the phrases and pictures attain far into the longer term, too.

What did Jesus need His disciples to be doing earlier than Judah’s judgment arrived?  The persecution they had been positive to face would do one thing fantastic:  “It will result in your giving testimony.”  What ought to we be doing on this lengthy stretch of time as we await the Final Judgment?  Exactly the identical factor.

Possible response:  Lord Jesus, assist me do all I can to unfold the Good News of salvation.  Now is the time to be daring.

First Reading (Read Mal 3:19-20a)

Malachi’s prophecy of God’s judgment got here on the time of the Jews’ return to the Promised Land after their exile in Babylon, in regards to the first half of the 5th century B.C.  It exhibits us two components of God’s justice:  punishment on evil, reward for goodness.  When the Jews returned from exile, they started rebuilding the Temple that had been destroyed. However, they had been half-hearted in each their constructing efforts and of their covenant constancy.  Through Malachi, God warns them “the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all of the proud and all evil doers might be stubble.”  Yet, there’s additionally a promise of blessing for individuals who worry His Name:  “There will come up the solar of justice with its therapeutic rays.”  We perceive this to be a Messianic prophecy of the approaching of Jesus.  He got here in “the fullness of time,” as St. Paul as soon as wrote, as Israel’s Messiah.  Although He was rejected by the spiritual elites in Jerusalem, the Gospel was preached in His Name by the apostles for forty extra years—a era.  Resistance in opposition to Jesus truly hardened in Judah throughout that point, though the Gentiles enthusiastically obtained the Gospel.  Ultimately, Israel’s lengthy historical past of faithlessness needed to meet with judgment; that is the occasion of which Jesus spoke in our Gospel.  Ultimately, this world’s rebel in opposition to God may even be judged.  Until then, the Church calls everybody to search out therapeutic within the rays of the Sun of Justice—Jesus.

Possible response:  Heavenly Father, thank You for being each simply and merciful.  Jesus is proof of that.

Psalm (Read Ps 98:5-9)

When we’re assured in God’s justice—that evildoing won’t go on without end unpunished nor goodness without end forgotten—we are going to wish to sing a psalm like this one out of pleasure:  “The Lord involves rule the earth with justice.”  So a lot of what makes life a battle for us is that we’re grieved by the evil that goes on throughout us.  It by no means stops; it’s at all times breaking out in a single kind or one other.  However, Jesus goes to return to this fallen world sometime and produce evil to an entire, powerless finish.  Because of this hope, we are able to sing:  “Let the ocean and what fills it resound, the world and people who dwell in it; let the rivers clap their fingers, the mountains shout with them for pleasure.”

Possible response:  The psalm is, itself, a response to our different readings.  Read it once more prayerfully to make it your personal.

Second Reading (Read 2 Thess 3:7-12)

This is a really attention-grabbing epistle studying for us as we take into consideration the Second Coming and Final Judgment.  St. Paul and all of the apostles preached the truth of this nice doctrine of our religion.  However, a few of the early converts misinterpreted Jesus’ Return as an excuse to not work.  If Jesus is coming again, why get entangled in working?  Unfortunately, with time on their fingers, these Christians had been conducting themselves in “a disorderly approach, by not retaining busy however minding the enterprise of others.”  St. Paul reminds them of the instance he and his co-workers set for them whereas they had been in Thessalonica.  They labored onerous to help themselves (St. Paul was a tentmaker) and didn’t settle for any free meals or help.  Even when he was nonetheless among the many Thessalonians, he instructed them “if anybody was unwilling to work, neither ought to that one eat.”

Waiting for Jesus, then and now, doesn’t imply ready in idleness (which normally results in hassle).  Waiting for Jesus means dwelling for Him and with Him within the work He has given us to do.  Knowing that sometime He will come again and ask us for an accounting of our time on earth ought to make us extra engaged with life on this world as His followers, not much less.  How silly it could be for us to be detached to the world for which Jesus left heaven and gave His life.  Very silly certainly.

Possible response:  Lord Jesus, typically I lengthy for Your return in order that I don’t need to stay by way of any extra messes.  Help me embrace these messes as my preparation to see You each time You return.

Photo: Ruined stones from the Second Temple, in Jerusalem, by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash



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