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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Tuesday 34th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Rev 14:14-19): I, John, looked and there was a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud one who looked like a son of man, with a gold crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel came out of the temple, crying out in a loud voice to the one sitting on the cloud, «Use your sickle and reap the harvest, for the time to reap has come, because the earth's harvest is fully ripe». So the one who was sitting on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.

Then another angel came out of the temple in heaven who also had a sharp sickle. Then another angel came from the altar, who was in charge of the fire, and cried out in a loud voice to the one who had the sharp sickle, «Use your sharp sickle and cut the clusters from the earth's vines, for its grapes are ripe». So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and cut the earth's vintage. He threw it into the great wine press of God's fury.
Responsorial Psalm: 95
R/. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The Lord is king. He has made the world firm, not to be moved; he governs the peoples with equity.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice; let the sea and what fills it resound; let the plains be joyful and all that is in them! Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.

Before the Lord, for he comes; for he comes to rule the earth. He shall rule the world with justice and the peoples with his constancy.
Versicle before the Gospel (Rev 2:10): Alleluia. Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 21,5-11): While some people were talking about the Temple, remarking that it was adorned with fine stonework and rich gifts, Jesus said to them, «The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down».

And they asked him, «Master, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?». Jesus then said, «Take care not to be deceived, for many will come claiming my title and saying: ‘I am he, the Messiah; the time is at hand’. Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and troubled times, don't be frightened; for all this must happen first, even though the end is not so soon». And Jesus said, «Nations will fight each other and kingdom will oppose kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and plagues; in many places strange and terrifying signs from heaven will be seen».

«There shall not be left one stone upon another»

+ Fr. Antoni ORIOL i Tataret (Vic, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, astounded, we listen to the Lord's severe warning: «The days will come when there shall not be left one stone upon another of all that you now admire; all will be torn down» (Lk 21:6). Jesus' words can be placed in the antipodes of the so called “indefinite human progress culture” or, if preferred, of the unstoppable evolution of some techno/scientific and political/military leaders of the human species.

Where from? Where to? This, nobody knows and nobody can tell, other than, in the last instance, a supposed eternal matter that denies God while, at the same time, usurping his attributes. Amazing, how they try to make us swallow it hook, line and sinker, who, on their side, refuse to accept the temporality and precarious status typical of our human condition!

As disciples of the Son of God-Made-Man, Jesus, we hear his very words and, while making them ours, we ponder over them. He is saying: «Take care not to be deceived!» (Lk 21:8). This is asserted by He, Who came to bear witness of the truth, while affirming that those belonging to the truth listen to his voice.

And He adds: «The end is not so soon» (Lk 21:9). Which means, on the one hand, that we still have time for salvation and we must take advantage of that; and, on the other, that the end will come, anyway. Yes, Jesus, will come «to judge the living and the dead», as we profess in the Creed.

Dear readers of Contemplating Today's Gospel, dear brothers and friends: a few verses further down this fragment I'm commenting now, Jesus encourages us and consoles us with these words that I repeat in his name: «By your endurance you will gain your souls!» (Lk 21:19).

By trying to be a warm and cordial echo of these words, and with the energy of a Christian hymn, we shall exhort one another: «Let us persevere, as we are already attaining the summit with our hands!».

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