Saint Cecilia, Virgin & Martyr
Revelation 14:14-19 + Luke 21:5-11
November 22, 2016
“‘Teacher, when will this happen?’”
Everything that’s built by human beings can be destroyed. That’s why something like the Great Pyramids of Egypt are so awesome: not simply because they are so colossal, but because they have—to an amazing extent—survived the ravages of time. You can think of one of the large cities on the West Coast of our own country (Los Angeles, for example): from the air, as you fly into the area, you can be filled with awe. And yet an earthquake could destroy everything in the area in a matter of minutes.
In this last week of the Church’s liturgical year, we hear Jesus contrasting “today” with “tomorrow”. The Jewish people took pride in the physical beauty of the Temple in Jerusalem, but Jesus is cautioning them to think also of that “tomorrow” when the Temple would be no more. Perhaps such talk was blasphemy to some of the Jews. Perhaps simply thought Jesus was being irrelevant, since the people of Jesus’ day would have had good reason to think that the Temple would stand for thousands of years. In fact, Jesus was simply being a realist.
The reality is that this world is meant by God to be temporary. It is meant to pass away. Yet we are tempted to think of the passing away of the world, or of ourselves from this world, as something tragic. Instead, Jesus wants us to embrace it as the opportunity He offers us for everlasting life.