Weekly Missionary Reflection
33rd Sunday in ordinary time, 13 November 2022
Mal. 4:1-2a; Ps. 98:5-6,7-8,9a; 2Thess. 3:7-12; Luk. 21:5-19
God’s Temple in Jerusalem was indeed majestic and beautiful. This second temple was renovated by King Herod the Great since 20 BC and was completely finished in 64 AD. This magnificent building was the pride of the Jewish people. They were confident that the greatness of the Lord was reflected in the splendor of His house. So much money and labor had been spent. It is said that Herod hired 100,000 workers for this renovation job, plus 1,000 priests to renovate the sacred parts, which could not be entered by common workers. Buildings and human-made things always have multi-faces. Behind the splendor, there must be pride. Yet it has also stories of oppression, forced labor, or poor wages. Thank God, at the end of this liturgical year, the Church invites us to raise our heads. Don’t be lulled by the glory and splendor of the world. They are impermanent. We have the evidence: the Temple itself! Just 6 years later this magnificent building was totally destroyed by the Roman armies. This prophecy of Jesus is clearly a warning for us: don’t boast a building nor any human-made!
Jesus spoke of the destruction of the Temple as an illustration of the End Time. The event that shocked the Jewish people becomes a reflection of the future happening. However, from the beginning, Jesus has emphasized that the end of the event is still far far away. There are still a lot of happenings and experiences, sufferings, and obstacles that will be faced by His followers. This is important, as the event of such a national scale “destruction” can be easily attributed to the coming of the heroes and liberators, the nationalist warriors who claim themselves as the messiah and mobilize the mass to fight. Jesus gives double answers: first, don’t believe the path of violence. For Jesus that is a misleading path (v. 8). Second: don’t surrender to fear and terror. Then, what kind of attitude shall we have? Always be “alert!” (v. 8). This word relates to the greek verb “watch out”, which means we have to live in tranquility with the insight of faith, so we can fully realize that God is working in every event and happening.
The certainty of the Lord’s coming does not terminate sufferings and trials. His followers will certainly experience resistance and oppression from political and religious leaders, even from their relatives. Following Jesus means following His path. The journey to resurrection will surely pass through the way of the cross. The final crown of glory is reached through the crown of thorns in our daily life. How should we react? The Lord gives us tricks and assurance. First, take the persecution and suffering as a chance for testimony (v. 13). That is the essence of our martyrdom: be the witness of Christ in the midst of this unfriendly and threatening world. Second, the Lord assures His assistance. In the suffering and persecution of the faith in Him, you and I will feel more and more His assistance, guidance, and protection. He will give us “wisdom that no man could resist and refute” (v. 15). This does not mean that we will always win the debate, but that all those persecution from our adversaries will be powerless to defeat our testimony or obstruct the spread of Good News.
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy, and sorrow in unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:
For the purpose of Universal Churches: The suffering children
We pray for the suffering children, especially the homeless, orphans, and victims of war; may they be assured to have education and the opportunity to experience the warmth of a family.
For the purpose of Indonesian Churches: Remembering those who died from Covid-19
We pray for those who died from Covid-19, may God bestow His mercy upon them, and their soul rests in eternal peace.