Thursday of the Thirty-FourthWeek in Ordinary Time

Our final liberation

“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 … 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 hand.” Lk 21,20-28

The today’s gospel shows us the apocalyptic vision of the end of the times which, in the first verses, is described with menacing images: signs in the sun and in the stars of the firmament, distress and fear on the earth, the disorder of the “powers of the heavens.”We do not know when and how this will happen, but the Lord today reassures us that these eschatological events will be the necessary precondition for our liberation, complete and final: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads, because your redemption is at hand”. The man has always sought changes which enable him to innovate and serve his ongoing desire for an happy life, but he is frightened by those which he has not programmed. Even a beneficial summer storm stirs a widespread sense of alarm. Therefore we risk to be overwhelmed by the fear and by the events, unless we live in a vigilante mode: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life. Be vigilant at all times and pray” (Lk 21,34-36). Hence, the secret of the vigilance is the prayer which, allowing us to live with the eyes addressed to the sky, avoids for us to be too much involved in the earthly events. It is also the secret, as it was for st. Francesco of Assisi, to be prepared with joy to “our corporal death”. But the liberation, which will follow the eschatological events announced by the today gospel, from what will it liberate us? It will be a full and final liberation from the sin, from our limits and their tragic consequences. It will happen as to Paul and Silas when, in Macedonia, they were in prison because of their preaching: “About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly su ch a severe earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open and the chains of all were pulled loose” (Acts 16,25-26).

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