Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(Revelation 18:1-2.21-23.19:1-3a.9; Luke 21:20-28)
According to an old Mayan calendar the world is supposed to end within four weeks. Do not take warning. Such predictions have been made and remade repeatedly throughout history. Although today’s gospel may seem to add its own forecast of doom’s day, it really leaves the question open-ended.
The gospel states what Luke, its writer, knew as fact. The world will not end with the fall of Jerusalem. Luke knew this because he likely penned his story ten to twenty years after the Romans destroyed the temple. In what is most probably editorial construction, Luke quotes Jesus as saying that the end of the world will come with the close of the “times of the Gentiles.” This obscure phrase possibly means when the gospel is brought to all the Gentiles. Given the “New Evangelization,” the age of the Gentiles is very much in process. Only then are signs to appear in the heavens foretelling Jesus’ coming.
Luke’s point is decidedly not to predict the end but to encourage followers of Jesus to keep the faith. We must make ready to stand tall for Christ by dropping to our knees in love of God and stooping to help our neighbor.