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During the month of November, the Church has us ponder the Four Last Things: death, judgment, Heaven, and ****. As the golden gown of autumn gives way to the lifeless look of winter, we are encouraged to see that our lives are on a trajectory that leads to autumn and then to the winter of death. But those who have faith know that this passage to death ultimately leads to glory. Scripture says, And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever(1 John 2:17).
In today’s Gospel, the Lord Jesus gives us a kind of road map of life and calls us to be sober about the passing and perilous nature of this world.
Context - Lord - Speaks - Rumblings - Israel
There is an historical context in which our Lord speaks. There were political rumblings in Israel in the early 30s AD that would eventually lead to war. Hatred of the Romans was growing among the Jews. The Zealot party and other factions were gaining power. In today’s Gospel, Jesus prophesies that war will come and lead to Jerusalem’s ultimate destruction; everything that the people know will pass away. By the summer of 66 AD, a three-and-a-half-year war was underway that resulted in the complete destruction of Jerusalem and the death of 1.2 million Jews. Josephus recorded the war in great detail in his work The Jewish War.
That is what this text meant historically. But we also need to understand what it means for us today. So let’s look at the text from that perspective. Today’s Gospel can be seen in three major sections.
Portrait - Passing - Things– - People - Temple
I. Portrait of Passing Things– 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...
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