Friday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time – November 25th 2022 – Lk 21:29-33
As we approach the end of the liturgical year and the beginning of Advent, today’s Gospel continues Jesus’ discourse regarding the end times, and warns us of future persecutions. Just like all of the Gospel readings this week, Jesus reminds us to remain alert and faithful during the coming challenges. We can break today’s Gospel into two parts: first, the sign of the trees and the signs of the times, and, second, that heaven and earth will pass away, but not Christ’s words.
Regarding the first, Christ tells us that, based on what we see happening in nature, we know that summer is coming. In the same way, we need to read the signs of the times, and know that the end is coming, and Christ’s definitive and final victory along with it. Both times when Christ talks about knowing, He uses a very specific word: γινώσκω (ginṓskō). It means to know, but that specific verb emphasizes that it’s a knowledge gained through personal experience; it’s something I have first-hand knowledge of.
Christ’s discourse is in the context of the end times and the fall of Jerusalem, but we can apply those words to us by thinking about how God has manifested His power in our own lives: sometimes, as we struggle day in and day out, we can forget about all the many graces that God has showered upon us; we can get caught up in the little things that aren’t such a big deal, and forget the innumerable graces that God has showered on us in the past. Yet, those little graces, those small victories that Christ wins in our lives are a foreshadowing of the great victory that is to come. When I experience the signs of God’s love, and I read them properly, in light of His overall plans to sanctify and save me, I see that the Kingdom of God is near; in fact, it is so near that, as Christ says earlier in Luke’s Gospel, “The Kingdom of God is within you” (17:21).
We’re reminded, then, of the need to be grateful to God for His gifts, and to trust in His promises to us. This leads us to our second point, namely, the phrase with which today’s Gospel ends, as Christ promises: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” No word of Christ’s ever passes unfulfilled; He is utterly and completely faithful in what and to what He promises. Each word of Christ is a word of the Word itself, participating, we could say, in His immutability. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and so is His word. We can think of some of the promises made by Christ: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life” (Jn 3:36), and “Seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides” (Mt 6:33). We can ask ourselves how much we really believe in Christ’s promises.
Today, since it is Friday, as we celebrate the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we’re reminded of how much Jesus desires for us to unite ourselves to Him, and that He is constantly at work in our souls to provide us with everything we need. However, as Jesus told Saint Faustina, “The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only, and that is – trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.” Let us ask, through the intercession of Marys’ Immaculate Heart and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, for the grace to recognize and give thanks for the work Christ has already done in us, and to trust in His promises.