While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, "All that you see here-- the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down." Then they asked him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?" He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.' Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end." Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I turn to you today with faith, knowing that you are the Lord of life and history. Aware of my weaknesses and failures, I set my hopes in you, for you always fulfill your promises. As I contemplate your love that becomes fidelity, I, too, desire to repay you with my fidelity. I am here before you to listen and, in listening, discover your will for me today.
Petition: Lord, grant me the grace to set my heart on what is eternal and everlasting.
1. Things Change: Like the people gazing at the physical beauty of the Temple, we, too, can be mesmerized by the fleeting glitter of the treasures of this world. Time, experience and our faith teach us that things change, including relationships. Our relationships with one another are never static; they are either being weaved more intimately, or they are fraying or coming apart at the seams. This also holds true for our relationship with Christ. All we do moves us deeper into his Sacred Heart or moves us away from him.
2. Christ Is Always the Same: Christ is the most sacred of temples; he is the Temple. Yet he changed. His body suffered the wounds that man inflicted upon his body. Christ changed interiorly, too. He suffered loneliness of the worst kind, when he experienced the effects of sin in the depths of his soul – separation from the Father and separation from his closest friends, his apostles. Yet in essence, Christ always remained the same, for he is love itself, and love is everlasting. Christ suffered physical and interior changes in his human nature so that we might partake of his divine nature, which is the same yesterday, today and forever.
3. The Gift of Perseverance: In order for us to enjoy eternal life, we must persevere. St. Paul talks about running the race, and moreover, about winning the race. Christ teaches us about the final victory and that to achieve this we must never deny him. Yet we are weak, and there are many ways that we deny our Lord. How can we who are so weak run the race and win the gift that lasts forever? Christ gives us the answer: Trust in him, not in ourselves or in the things or ways of this world. We will persevere through the grace he won for us on Calvary.
Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, your beauty transcends all creation, even my holiest of thoughts. Please bless me with the gift to appreciate more perfectly the limited beauty of created things and the infinite and everlasting beauty of you, my Lord and my God.
Resolution: Today I will reflect on the beauty of God's creation and on the reality that all creation changes. As well, I will see and respect the everlasting beauty that resides, or should reside, in the hearts of all men, so that I will treat all people with the highest degree of respect.