We are all at least a little curious about the end of the world. The “when”, the “how” the “where”. The majority of us would like to have some warning—so that we can be prepared. The folks who were following Jesus were no different. They too wanted some kind of warning about the end. “…what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
The temple represented their security—their connection with God. The temple was not only a place of worship but of commerce, social life, and where the Law was reinforced. One day Jesus announced that the temple was going to be destroyed. The people believed in Jesus—they trusted Him. How could He say that the temple was coming down? Why was He giving them such bad news? Jesus was giving them reality therapy. The people had put their hope in buildings, costly stones, votive offerings. So the Lord told them the truth—“everything you see will one day turn to dust.” Nobody like to hear that. Monuments, the pyramids, the castles give us a sense of permanency. However, just like the temple—one day they will come tumbling down. History has shown us that even the mightiest of nations have fallen. Obviously we need to put our trust in God, not in possessions, buildings, institutions. Many distractions bombard us every day, especially with the availability of the media apparatuses. “Where’s my cell phone? I lost my I Pad. Where would we be without our computer? Probably a lot happier. Some folks can’t go to bed without watching the news. Others can go to bed because they watch the news. Much of the anxiety we feel is what we have created. It’s an illusion—a lie. The panic—the fear—the despair they are all weapons of the devil. Tomorrow will come. The trouble—no matter how big—that we are experiencing today will pass.
All things will pass. A great temptation is to want to hold on to the familiar. Nobody likes changes, especially in what we hold to be sacred. How do we think that the Jews felt when their temple was destroyed? What were they supposed to do with a pile of ruins? The Jews had to pick up the pieces and remind themselves of what was really important. They had to remind themselves that their identity did not come from stonewalls—but from a covenant relationship.
God loved them and God loves us more than we can possibly imagine or hope to deserve. There’s no price tag on the love of God. If there were a price tag; the tag would say, “free”. We have a lot of conflict—inside—when something is free. Suspicions go up. “Must be a catch.” “Sooner or later, God will get even—He’ll send us a bill.” We get upset when bad things happen to us and conclude that God must be punishing us. No such thing. But there are the false prophets who preach gloom and doom. Frankly, many folks like a black and white religion. They want to be told how to think, how to vote, how to feel. Our faith is a faith of freedom—true freedom that comes from inside—being at peace with our weaknesses. Freedom that comes from the promise that Jesus made, “No matter how bad things get and some of you will be put to death, hated by your family and your friends…” Regardless—“not a hair of your head will be destroyed.” Which means that our body might get smashed but not our soul—not our integrity—our person. We are protected by the Lord Himself. There is no reason to be afraid. Spread the message—the true message of the Gospel. God’s mercy is not just available only during the Holy Year. Holy Years are like a wake up call.
God’s mercy has been around from the beginning of time and will continue until the end. Be not afraid, “I am with you always until the end of the world.”