Fourth Sunday of Lent - year A
Reading 1 Ml 3,19-20 Psalm 97 Reading 2 2TS 3,7-12 Gospel LK 21,5-19
This week’s Sunday is the one before the last in the Liturgical Year; this is why we are met with readings talking about the end, the end of time, the end of all things and the end of our earthly life. As a matter of fact, we realise that everything is temporary and that we are always at risk because of sickness or unforeseen circumstances or accidents. Jesus is talking about this very real situation, He is not hiding it from us and He does not make a taboo of it. His words are helping us not to live superficially, pushing us to be on our guard, a warning not to make idols for ourselves of all the beautiful things in the world. We can see that it is very easy for men to make idols out of things they themselves have made. When these things are coming out beautifully, attractive, useful, we admire the people who made them, we glorify them, we make statues of them, we dedicate squares to them, we write their names on streets. And we forget the One who has given intellect and health to men, who have used them to achieve all results.
Today Jesus talks to His disciples about the artistic beauty of the temple of Jerusalem. They were awestruck looking at the architecture of the building and the golden guildings which were making it shine. Jesus instead does not lose sight of the man, and even less of God. If the man does not obey God, his beautiful works will become a trap. The richness of the temple will attract the attention of thieves, who will raid it. They will not care at all about the architectural beauty, and, to get their hands on the gold, they will destroy everything!
“There will not be left a stone upon another stone”! These prophetic words were exactly for that temple in Jerusalem, which forty years later will be literally destroyed completely to the ground. But these are also prophetic words for thousands of other buildings that have been built by men, even by Christians. And we do not have to forget that they are “words that will not pass away”, while our beautiful monuments, our cathedrals, our wonderful buildings and also all our social works and charitable works will come to an end. We cannot forget it, in order not to forget to focus our attention on our interior life, our unity with the Lord, the building of the spiritual building that pleases God.
In the world nothing is lasting, nothing is bound to be there forever. People move around, dragging with them their selfishness and their injustices, they force onto others their own sins with the destructive force they have. They who listen to Jesus need to be ready for these things to happen. Ready to defend themselves from the attractiveness of the apparent good that idolatry and atheism can offer, ready to be a witness for the only Saviour of the man. They who love Jesus do not have human securities: those which seems like they really are so are the most dangerous. Even by their parents they will be betrayed, and even by those who say they love them, they will receive hate and duplicity. We should not fear earthquakes and pandemics, but our own weakness in the faith, our inability of giving testimony.
The future will present to us many occasions in which we will be able to show who we are, or better, who is He who gives meaning and safe guidance to our life. We will have the joy to offer many the possibility to approach Jesus’s salvation, but we will also have to be on our guard, alert, ready to separate what is from God from what is only looking like something good. We can never forget that everything is going to end, if we want to hung on tight to what instead endures, nay, to Whom endures, and truly loves us and is blessed in every century!