Updated: Nov 17, 2019
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
9-12 year olds
When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, Jesus said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”
When I listened to this Gospel reading, I thought that the disciples' questions were strange. If I had been there and Jesus told me that this beautiful Temple would one day be thrown down, I don't think my first question would be "When?" but instead, "WHY??"
Jesus doesn't tell them when this is going to happen. When isn't important. Instead, he tells them why: terrible things happen.
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues
Jesus knows that the world is not yet as it should be. He knows that God's kingdom is not yet complete. But he also says,
When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”
The end will not follow these things, because these things are not of God. Terrible things happen, Jesus says, like the destruction of the Temple, but they are not signs. God is not the God of war and destruction. There is still time for us to work with God to build the kingdom.
I think Jesus is telling the disciples that they are focusing on the wrong things. There is going to be trouble in their own lives because they have chosen to build the kingdom of God, and not everybody is going to like that choice.
We have chosen to build the kingdom, too. Like the disciples, we know that if we choose to work with God, we can help bring the Parousia--the time when God will be all-in-all, when the kingdom will be complete--more quickly. Does this mean there will be trouble in our lives, too??
Jesus says there will be times in our lives when we will have to speak about our faith in God. We will have to tell people what we believe.
you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify.
An opportunity for public speaking??? Not everyone is good at that. Especially when it is about something so close to our hearts. We feel vulnerable; we could get hurt.
But Jesus says,
So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.
We don't have to prepare! (That is not something we hear often, right?!) Jesus, the Son of God will give us the words to say. He will give us wisdom.
With the Holy Spirit with us, we do not need to be afraid.