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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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The gospel reading (Lk 21:5-19) is considered a part of what is often called Jesus’ “eschatological discourse”, (21:5-36) because it deals with the “eschata”, last things, of both Jerusalem (its fate and its temple) and (what is coming upon) the world. It is also called the Synoptic “apocalyptic discourse” because it presents those “eschata” in the apocalyptic genre.

Initially, Jesus gives an oracular statement to the people about the imminent destruction of the temple (v5). And in his response to the ‘when’ (v7), he shifted his focus from the temple question to the broader area of eschatology, distinguishing between events that precede the end and the end itself. He cautions against heeding the voices of those who announce the end (v8, cf Paul’s 2 Thes 3:7-12). He then de-eschatologize events already experienced such as wars and uprisings (v9, including the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans, vv20-24).

These things will preface the end but are distinct from it. Though employing the traditional description of the end of time in cosmic terms- universal warfare, disturbances of nature (v10f), he maintains his general emphasis in his gospel, the day-to-day life of the church which must be addressed- the persecutions to which Christians were being subjected (vv12-19). At the appropriate time, they are assured of the ability to speak in their own defense (v13f). Severe opposition will stem from their own families because of their conversion (cf 12:52f, 18:29). Even though they are faced with persecution and even death (vv16f), their lives will ultimately be saved (v19).

Thus ended the pericope, with Jesus exhorting his followers, guaranteeing them victory (vv 18-19, cf 12:7). The word hypomenō ( ὑπομἐνω ), has the primary meanings of ‘to persevere, endure, bear patiently’. Believers ‘stand firm (i.e.endure) to the end’ (Mt 10:22, 24:13; Mk 13:13; Jas 5:11); ‘to be patient’ under persecution, suffering, enduring affliction (Rom 12:12; 2 Tim 2:10f; Heb 10:32,12:7; Ja 2:12). Christ himself ‘has endured’ much persecution including death on the cross.

With perseverance, i.e., persistent endurance, one will be rewarded with ultimate deliverance and acquire life.

Translating perseverance in real life, St. Paul reminds us that the time before the end is a period of tireless service and not a time to remain idle and do nothing (2 Thes 3:7-12). For the coming of the ‘day of the Lord’ would be a time of reckoning for both the just and the unjust (Mal 3:19-20). Remaining steadfast, therefore, amid trials and difficulties and enduring in our love of God and neighbor will find us ready for the coming of the Lord, whenever will it be.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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