Updated: Nov 17, 2019
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
6-9 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.
"Do not be terrified," Jesus says. When the shepherds were terrified the night Jesus was born, the angel of the Lord said to them,
“Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
This is the only sign we need. God comes to the world as a tiny baby, who knows what it feels like to want to be held close and loved. God is with us.
We have chosen to build the kingdom and God is with us--especially when terrible things happen.