The readings this Sunday spell something that speak of the end of days. It makes one worry and anxious, if not terrified. It can confuse as well. What we also don’t know is how Jesus spoke these words to His disciples; it matters a lot in understanding how the message was conveyed.
Jesus knew how difficult the future will be for His loyal followers. However, reflecting on the Gospel deeper, we find Jesus words reassuring and comforting. He mentioned that ‘such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.’ (Lk. 21: 9). Further, our Lord said that ‘not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.’ (v. 18-19).
I remember the time when my younger sister Karen called me telling that Dad is in the hospital after a heart attack. Crying, she told me that Dad has been unconscious for some time and the chances of surviving are bleak. My first reaction was something I couldn’t comprehend. For some moments I was just staring blankly and helplessly through the distance, as if something invisible has been ripped apart and disappearing fast into the night. While it wasn’t my first taste of death, it was happening on someone very close to me, and who at that time was in a good state of health. It was a lot to process and to think about. I didn’t know what to think actually. Slowly, the whole event sunk in and I realized that someone very close to me is gone in the blink of an eye. Someone who I looked up to with much love and respect. Someone I didn’t imagine losing to heart failure.
Ferment will come into our lives. Our existence will be snuffed out when we least expect it. This is real and certain. Life is fleeting and can end in a moment. And when it does happen, we can’t take anything with us in our journey to meet God. We can only bring the good that we do, the memories we share, and the legacies our presence bring to others. That is why, we need to take everything that God gives us in life as a gift and a blessing. For everything that He allows us to experience, we must take it as grace, even for things that hurt. Because we take on His promise that before the joyful end comes, there will be misery, pain and uncertainty. We may not be able to understand why. But we should take these things in stride and be confident knowing that these will make us stronger and better persons.
The challenge is how to persevere and trust that better times will come. Even when it looks bleak, we shouldn’t stop loving and caring. We shouldn’t stop living. We should stay faithful.
Let us prepare for these events, let us continue to work on our faith. Strengthen our confidence and trust in Him, that He will get us through this vale of tears and into Eternity.
‘By your perseverance you will secure your lives.’ (Lk. 21: 19)