Thursday morning’s bible study centered around Luke 21:5-19, the Gospel for the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the reading for this coming weekend. It has Jesus predicting the destruction of the Temple and of course since the Gospel was written after the Temple was destroyed, it proved that Jesus was a great prophet. We all can be prophets and at times we are. What parent has not said, “If you keep that up, you’ll be sorry.” The child of course pays no heed to the prophecy and is eventually sorry he didn’t. So it was with the people of Israel when the prophets tried to reform them. The goal of the prophet is not to have his predictions come true. If the child changes his bad behavior he will not be punished. In this Gospel Jesus also lists all the things that will happen before the second coming. This is not anything we should look for as a sign that it is about to happen but a statement of what was happening and is happening. It is the way the world is! Can anyone document a time or era when at some place in the world there has not been wars, pestilence, disasters of some kind? They are with us always and so can not be considered a sign of anything about to happen. But He also said that we would be persecuted and that persecution should be an occasion of us giving testimony to Him. We feel fortunate that we are not being persecuted here in our western civilization and have religious freedom. But is that true? No! Our core values are being attacked and challenged by the media, our “entertainment”, the advertisers, and anyone telling us that material things and instant gratification are what should be our chief and only concern. How do we respond (testify) if we do at all?
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