The Two Prophecies

Luke 21: 20-28
Rev 18:1-2,21-23,19:1-3,9a/Ps 100:1-5

There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
(Luke 21:25)

From the coming endtimes have no fear,
The Spirit will make us understand
When signs reveal that Christ is near,
Then our redemption is at hand.

Jesus said, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are the days of punishment, when all that is written are fulfilled. Woe to those who are pregnant and nursing mothers in those days! For a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful vengeance upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Lk.21:20-24)

‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand.’ (Lk. 21:25-28)

Reflection

In today’s Gospel reading of Luke, our Lord was making two separate prophecies: the first, in verses 20 to 24, is a repetition of his lament over Jerusalem as he was entering the city (in Luke 19:41-44). History shows this prophecy fulfilled in A.D. 66–73, about forty years after the death of Jesus, when the Roman armies under Titus, the son of Vespasian conquered Palestine and destroyed Jerusalem, slaughtering thousands of the Jews and bringing the captives as slaves back to Rome.

The second prophecy is obviously about a greater cataclysm than the destruction of Jerusalem. It is about “the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” This second prophecy was given for Christians of all generations – warning us to prepare for our Lord’s Second Coming to herald the Final Judgment. Again, this is a repetition of His earlier prediction of the End Times (in Lk.21:7-11). “Signs in the sun, the moon and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations…” evidently refer to nature’s cataclysmic phenomena as manifestations of the prophecy’s fulfillment.

In the staff mass of the BIL Batch # 430 yesterday at the Jesuit House chapel in Ateneo, Fr. Tony, our spiritual director asked us why the “End Times” theme was given emphasis in the Gospel readings (until Sunday). One of the brothers answered correctly when he said “Because these days mark the end of the Church’s liturgical year.” Advent is indeed upon us, and this season heralds the end of fear and the beginning of great joy.

People who “fear the Lord in their hearts” and have made the Holy Scriptures their refuge and strength are the only ones who have no cause to “fear the terrors of night” (Ps.91:5), or any danger that may befall them or their loved ones. Instead of fear, when the end times come, they shall be full of anticipation for the “coming of the Lord in a cloud with power and great glory” (Lk. 21:27).

You are my refuge and my fortress, my Rock in Whom I trust. No evil shall befall me, no plague approach my tent, for You will put me in Your angels’ charge, to guard me in all my ways” (Psalm 91:2,10,11). Save us, Father God, from the impending destruction; protect us from the evil that will befall the world on the day of tribulation. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

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