Tuesday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Revelation 14:14-19; Psalm 96; Luke 21:5-11)
Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” relates how the statue of an ancient Egyptian king was found in the middle of a desert. The statue’s shattered state betrayed the sign it bore naming the figure the “Ozymandias, King of Kings” and telling the on-looker to despair in awe. The poem reminds the reader that the greatest works of art as well as the greatest people are all time-bound. Their fame hardly lasts for centuries, much less for eternity.
In the gospel Jesus relates the same prophetic message. People gaze starry-eyed at the wonders of the Temple, but Jesus tells them not to be impressed. The Temple, he says, will fall as it indeed did barely a generation after his death. Jesus also warns his disciples not to follow unreservedly the great personages who may claim to be him or like him. These men and women will also pass away.
We Christians give our full allegiance to God alone. He is the source and goal of our lives. Yes, we try to make of the earth a decent place to live. But we should not become too comfortable and never complacent here. We seek a peaceful earth so that we might come to know and love God who promises us heaven as our true home.