Father Edward McIlmail, LC
Jesus said to his disciples:
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that
its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea
must flee to the mountains. Let those within the
city escape from it, and let those in the countryside
not enter the city, for these days are the
time of punishment when all the scriptures are fulfilled.
Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days,
for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth
and a wrathful judgment 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. "There will be signs in
the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on
earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the
roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die
of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon
the world, for the powers of the heavens will be
shaken. And 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
Introductory Prayer: Jesus my Savior, thank you for
another day and another chance to grow in holiness
with your grace. I love you and wish to make
you the true center of my thoughts, desires and
Petition: Lord, give me a healthy, but
realistic Christian optimism.
1. Desolation at Hand: What a grim
Gospel passage! Lots of talk of armies and calamity
and roaring seas. Jesus is speaking of the coming destruction
of Jerusalem (in A.D. 70) as well as images
of the End-Times. In our day we can think
of wars, tsunamis, floods and wonder why the world is
such a nasty place sometimes. Why can´t life be
easier? Why do so many innocent people suffer? Alas,
Our Lord asked the same questions. All the evil we
see springs from original sin, from the fall of
Adam. It wasn´t God´s plan to have all this
suffering -- but he allows it. He allows it because
he respects our freedom. He allows it too because
he knows he can bring good out of it. How
do I use my freedom? Do I have enough
faith in Christ to be optimistic?
2. Trampled Underfoot: The
fall of Jerusalem didn´t mean that God abandoned the world.
True, the focus of religion would no longer be
the Temple; rather, it would be a new focus:
Christ, truly present in the Eucharist. The tabernacle would be
the new center of attention. How few souls grasp
that truth? After 2,000 years, Jesus is still humble,
allowing himself to be kept in a tabernacle. Does that
fact influence the way I act in a church?
Does it affect the way I dress when going to
church? Do I try to enter church with the
proper state of heart and mind?
3. Redemption at Hand: Faithful
following of Christ gives us the best assurance that
our lives have meaning. Christ will make sense of everything
at the end of our lives. All our struggles
to live the Gospel will be worth it. On the
last day we might regret many things, but we
will never regret the things we did for Christ.
Does that truth guide our lives each day? Do we
live each day as if it were our last?
What is there in my life that I would be
ashamed of on the last day? Why not weed
it out of my life now?
Christ:Lord, help me to judge the things of my daily
life against eternity. Let me see things with your
eyes. Let me see what is really valuable and
what is fleeting. And help me to act accordingly.
Resolution: I will make a fresh effort to get rid
of the biggest vice in my life