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?” And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them. 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.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls."
Today’s Gospel is about the coming of the Kingdom. Three days before the Passion, Jesus debated with Pharisees in the Temple. In the evening, when he left the Temple, his disciples admired the beauty of the building. However, Jesus told them that the Temple would be destroyed within a generation. So, they asked Jesus, “When will this be?”
Jesus’ reply covers three issues: the destruction of the Temple (verses 8 to 24), the end of the world (verses 25 to 27), and both (wars). It should be noted that Jesus did not specify when the end of the world will be.
Historically, Romans destroyed the Temple in a military action against the Zealots in AD 70. However, the most grievous disaster of the world is not war or killing, because they destroy only the body but not the soul of mankind.
The most grievous disaster of the world is heresy. That is why Jesus told his disciples: “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.” For us, heresy does not refer to our religious belief only but covers also many ism. Many human ideal-isms try to replace God. In the last two centuries. We witnessed great tragedies caused by Fascism and Nazism.
When we face some extraordinary event, Jesus told us not to be afraid. He assured us that not a hair of our head will perish. Jesus predicted that we will be hated by all because of his name. However, he will protect us as he promised: “So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.” What he means is that we do not have to worry about what will happen to us. He would like to see us to have his peace in our heart by living out our faith.
It would be foolish for us to give up eternity in exchange for temporal things. Whenever we face with a choice, it would be wise for us to ask the question, “How does it related to eternity?”