First of all, let me take this opportunity to congratulate our First Reconciliation Children and their families. They made their commitment ceremony last Sunday. This Sunday, our Confirmation Candidates make their commitment. We, the faith community with their sponsors, families, and teachers asked you to make a commitment to pray for them and support you in their journey. Congratulations to Our Confirmation Candidates!
This past Friday, we celebrated Veterans Day: Veterans Day is the national day to recognize the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. I read a prayer by St Ignatius of Loyola – a veteran - prayer about heart-felt generosity. It goes like this: Dear Lord, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil, and not to seek for rest; to labor, and not to ask for any reward except that of knowing that I am doing your holy will. Amen. Veterans Day is to honor them for their love and sacrifices for our safety. Our men and women are in uniform in the past, present, and the future, God bless you, and Thank You!
As we approach the end of the liturgical year, the readings invite us to reflect on the end time, death, and final judgment. Do you think the end of the world is near? We hear repeatedly people talk about this subject. Whenever something unexpected occurs we have a tendency to think in this direction.
In the Gospel, Luke narrates the eschatological discourse. Jesus portrays for us, graphically, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. For Jews, the destruction of these two things was equivalent to the end of the world. There were three reasons behind this because for them, the Temple was 1) the dwelling place of God. In 1 King chapter 8, we see the dedication of the Temple, and the Lord came from heaven to dwell in the Temple. 2) It was the sole place of sacrifice. Deuteronomy 12 tells that the center of worship is Jerusalem Temple. 3) Jerusalem and Temple were a symbol of heaven and earth (Isaiah 65:17&18). So they believed that the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple is the destruction of the universe, the destruction of heaven and earth.
The Temple was the joy of the People of Israel. Its stones were decorated with jewels. The disciples marveled at it. Jesus said it would be torn down, as it was in the year 70 AD. There is a section of the Temple still standing. It’s called the Wailing Wall. People still go there and mourn the fate of the Jewish people, and the fate of all who are persecuted.
Jesus told the disciples that the Temple would be torn down because all material things come to an end sooner or later. Then the disciples asked the big question, the question that so many people want to know: When? Jesus absolutely refuses to say when the end of time will come. All he will tell us is that there are signs of the end. Jesus' point is that his true followers should not be concerned about when the end is, they should only be concerned about living in the present.
Jesus foretold many signs that would shake peoples and nations. The signs which God uses are meant to point us to a higher spiritual truth and reality of his kingdom which does not perish or fade away but endures for all eternity. God works through many events and signs to purify and renew us in hope and to help us set our hearts more firmly on him and him alone.
In the first reading from the book of Malachi, the prophet warns the people of Israel for their pride and evildoings. They were just returned from the Babylonian exile, and they were tempted to follow the former life. Prophet Malachi told them that God had taken note of the goodness of those who feared Him and would have compassion on them on the Day of His coming. But there would be punishment for the wicked and the proud.
The reading wants us to reflect on preparedness. Despite the signs, no one knows the precise moment of the end. So, we must stay ready always.