When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
When? Where? Under what conditions? These are the questions Jesus is pummeled with today. I wonder if his answer gave his questioners the information that they wanted to hear. We do not really know what the reaction was of the crowd. Did they understand, or were they even more confused, or something else? I, too, am periodically tempted to pummel Jesus with questions. Why? For what? What did he or she, or I do? What does this mean? Where do I go from here? When will I know for sure? Under what conditions?
Jesus assures the crowd, and us today, “do not be terrified.” Can prayer today offer you that peace? Might Jesus be wishing to calm you in prayer today as well? What questions do you have for the Lord? What questions are weighing heavily on your heart today? Can you let Jesus sit with them, too?
Grant me, O Lord, to see everything now with new eyes, to discern and test the spirits that help me read the signs of the times, to relish the things that are yours, and to communicate them to others. Give me the clarity of understanding that you gave to St. Ignatius.
—Pedro Arrupe, S.J., in Hearts on Fire, ed. Michael Harter, S.J., © Loyola Press, Chicago, 2004.