- 1 Samuel 1:4-20 and 1 Samuel 2:1-10 •
- Daniel 12:1-3 and Psalm 16 •
- Hebrews 10:11-14, (15-18), 19-25 •
- Mark 13:1-8
Thoughts on The Word:
As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.
This week's Gospel gives us a warning and also gives us comfort. Firstly we should never be so caught up in the beauty or grandeur of our surroundings that we forget that they are all temporary. Everything on this planet will one day pass away - all of the great architecture, all of the great art and literature, it is all temporary. While we can enjoy these things, and use them - our focus should always be on the Kingdom. We see linked to this warning the danger of false prophets and messiahs who promise much but can deliver nothing.
Our message of hope as funny as it may sound comes from the second part of our reading where Jesus explains to us that we will hear of wars, famines and earthquakes. Where you may ask is the hope in this? The hope is found in the words of our saviour - he tells us not to be alarmed at these things, indeed he tells us that these things must happen. This is important, It gives us a message that even through these sorts of calamity God will remain faithful. Why must these things happen? Well God knows the answer to that question - I postulate that these things must happen because God is giving us time. Time to grow the Kingdom, time to preach the Good News to all nations (Mark 13:10). The thing is when you give humanity time, given its fallen sinful nature, with the influence of Satan to stir things along, evil will happen. I have faith that the Lord will only allow these things to go on for as long as it takes to save as many people as can be saved - indeed we are told that he cuts short the days of suffering(Mark 13: 19-20).
The key throughout all of this is that we have a faithful God - He will not desert us, we are the only ones who can take our salvation away from us through rejecting Him for the 'good' things of this world, the temporary things that will all pass away.
This week I pray that your focus will be on the Kingdom of God, and that you will not be alarmed as we hear of yet more war. I also hope that you join me in praying for those in the Israel and Gaza during this time, as well as all those around the world facing war and famine. Let us pray that these conflicts and suffering will be short and that the Peace of God might reign.
God bless you this week,