Be Not Afraid

– Memorial of Saint Cecilia –

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.”  [Luke 21:6]

As the end of the Liturgical Year approaches (the current one ends with the start of Advent next Sunday), the daily Gospel reading focus on the end times. At this stage, Jesus and his disciples are still in the temple in Jerusalem, which is where he has been teaching for some time.  

Today’s reading begins with Jesus foretelling the end of the temple. This prediction would have been devastating to the Jewish people as it was central to their religion and culture. Its destruction in the year 70 led to the Jewish diaspora. 

Jesus says to the disciples “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified” (Luke 21:9). This brings to mind part of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians that was read at Mass a month or so ago: “As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, we beg you, brothers and sisters, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here”. 

How can we not be alarmed? Jesus’ description of the end times in today’s passage sounds like the state of our world today. Nations are at war; the world is experiencing the Covid pandemic; millions are facing famine; images of fires, floods and earthquakes regularly feature in news broadcasts.  

Loving God, help me to remember Christ’s reassuring words not to be afraid and to heed Christ’s call to strive for what is good and loving and so do my bit to change our world. Amen. 


by Elizabeth Harrington

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