Tuesday of the Thirty-FourthWeek in Ordinary Time
The deceivers and the alarmist
While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, he said, “All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky. Lk 21,5-11
In the gospel passage of today, Jesus goes from the prediction of the fall of the temple of Jerusalem, which will take place in the 70s b.C, to the eschatological vision of the end of the times. These are the conclusions of the last two stages of the history of the salvation: the end of the mandate given to Israel and of the mandate entrusted to the church, still existing. The exhortation of the today passage is to walk away from the speculations on the end of the world, which, starting from the first church of Thessaloniki until our times, have always tried to deviate the christian path in the history, in the name of a supernatural future. Such temptations are pushed by two categories of persons against whom the passage of today warns us: the “deceivers” and the “alarmists”. In the present historical moment, where momentous changes are underway, it is easy to abdicate, in the name of the religion, to the social commitment and not to fulfill our own responsibilities. In these periods charlatans and false prophets never were missed and they are present also today, who have some success on the wave of the religious emotion of the people. They say they are sent by God and they offer imaginative projections. They are the deceivers against whom today the Lord warns us: “See that you not be deceived, from many will come in my name, saying ‘I am he’ and ’The time has come‘. Do not follow them”. In addition to the deceivers, there are the alarmists, those who are always apprehensive both for the events of the history and for the family and personal occurrences: “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first but it will not immediately be the end”. Then he said to them, “Nation will raise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky”. It seems to read the newspapers of today, but against all this scaremongering the Lord assures us: “take courage, I have conquered the world” (Jn 16,33). Give us, Lord, the faith to believe that our history is in your hands.