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(Part 204)


November 13, 2016

Today’s readings:
Malachi 3:19-20
Psalm 98:5-9
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12
Luke 21:5-19

We are in the end times. This is a prod to the urgency of the work of evangelization and mission. The end will come, possibly with destruction of the world. “All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” (Lk 21:6). That day will also be the end for evildoers. “For the day is coming, blazing like an over, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble” (Mal 3:19a).

When will the end be? What are the signs of the end? It will be as Jesus has said. There will be a proliferation of false prophets. “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!” (Lk 21:8). There will be “wars and insurrections” (Lk 21:9a). “There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place” (Lk 21:11a). There will be persecutions (Lk 21:12). There will be betrayal by relatives and friends (Lk 21:16). “You will be hated by all because of my name” (Lk 21:17a).

Amid all these, we are to look to the good that these terrible events will bring. Persecution will provide us opportunities to testify to Jesus, as they “will lead to your giving testimony.” (Lk 21:13). And such testimony under persecution will give us the privilege of Jesus acting in and through us. “Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” (Lk 21:14-15). Further, in the midst of injustice and suffering, we will be vindicated, healed and given victory over our enemies. “But for you who fear my name, the sun of justice will arise with healing in its wings; and you will go out leaping like calves from the stall and tread down the wicked; they will become like dust under the soles of your feet, on the day when I take action, says the Lord of hosts.” (Mal 3:20-21). In fact, “not a hair on your head will be destroyed.” (Lk 21:18). Finally, as we endure, we will merit our salvation. “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Lk 21:19).

The end times is not a time to be idle. It is such that “if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.” (2 Thes 3:10b). It is also not a time to be busybodies, but to focus. It is not time to be “conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.” (2 Thes 3:11). Rather, given the urgency of the times, we must work hard. “On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked” (2 Thes 3:8b). Such hard work is to be the model. “For you know how one must imitate us” (2 Thes 3:7a). Further, “we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.” (2 Thes 3:9b). What is to be imitated is working zealously for the gospel.

We are not to fear the end. We are actually to look forward to it. That is, if we do our work of evangelization and help prepare people for the return of the Lord. And when Jesus does return, “let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains shout with them for joy, before the Lord who comes, who comes to govern the earth, to govern the world with justice and the peoples with fairness.” (Ps 98:8-9).

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