Jesus talks about the "end times" today. His discussion is spurred on by a question about his response to the disciples exclamations about the beauty of the temple buildings. Jesus foretells the fall of the temple and then his disciples ask him when this will happen, and off Jesus goes describing some pretty terrible events that will signal those "end times".
So many people read these verses with a literal lens, taking them out of context. They see an earthquake, or the start of a war, or famine, or religious persecution, and say Aha, we are at the end: Jesus is a'comin soon! So much damage has been done by these literal minded zealots. Such dangerous and deadly actions have been perpetrated throughout history. We don't have to look far back to find examples, nor is it hard to look around the world and find very recent examples of the things Jesus warns about as telling signs of the change coming.
What we are gifted with today from Matthew is the start of a long descriptive speech by Jesus. It continues in tomorrow's reading and into Saturday's, where we will find one of the metaphoric keys to understanding what Jesus is doing here. All ya'll have to wait until Saturday for my thoughts on that. In regard to today, one of the take aways from this Gospel reading is that Jesus is telling us that to be his disciple, to be his follower, will not be easy, will not make us the most popular kid in the class. And that is okay. Today's reading helps us remember, amidst "all the love stuff" (about which I write constantly!), that our journey can and will be difficult, and yet our reading clearly shows us we are not alone on that journey, nor is it a fruitless walk. There is good news in these rather difficult readings we are in the midst of right now.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.