Summary: Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time -- 33rd Sunday, Year C
In 70 A.D. The Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple by the use of the catapult: The Jewish watchmen cried out in their own language, “THE STONE IS COMING! “THE STONE IS COMING!”
The Romans declared their innocence for the death and destruction saying that God had deserted the Temple.
Failure to heed the prophets, including Jesus, resulted in the destruction of the city and the temple.
Was it a loss?
A crow once flew into the sky with a piece of meat in its beak. Twenty crows set out in pursuit of it and attacked it viciously.
The crow finally let the piece of meat drop. Its pursuers then left it alone and flew shrieking after the morsel.
Said the crow, “I’ve lost the meat and gained this peaceful sky.”
Said a monk, “When my house burned down I got an unobstructed view of the moon at night!”
Calamities can bring growth and Enlightenment," said a Spiritual Master.
And he explained it thus:
“Each day a bird would shelter in the withered branches of a tree that stood in the middle of a vast deserted plain. One day a whirlwind uprooted the tree, forcing the poor bird to fly a hundred miles in search of shelter -- till it finally came to a forest of fruit-laden trees."
And he concluded: "If the withered tree had survived, nothing would have induced the bird to give up its security and fly.”
In the apocalyptic mind, the Temple's destruction is not what it appears to be. Consider Rev. 21:22: “And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb."
Rather than cause for despair, it is a sign of the divine plan: The time of the Temple was over and a new day had dawned in redemptive history.
Without a temple it was impossible to offer sacrifices.
Therefore, the Christian Sacrifice of the Mass and an individual’s sacrifice of a contrite soul, of a humble spirit, and of an obedient life would be acceptable to God.
Our Gospel today began with the words that, “some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings.”
Each baptized believer is like one of the beautiful costly temple stones, so costly that the price paid was the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ.
1. The Destruction of your Inner Temple happens by mortal sin, so protect your temple by holiness and vigilance.
I Cor. 6:19 says that God, through His Spirit indwells in the soul of the individual baptized believer so that his body becomes the "temple of the Holy Spirit."
The spiritual sin of acedia is when you don’t care about protecting your temple. Acedia isn’t laziness. It literally means “a lack of care,” or more specifically a lack of concern for one’s salvation and growth as a Christian.
E.g. YEAH, WHATEVER
—“I am sexually active. Whatever”
—“I am on drugs. Whatever”
An early Christian thinker named Evagrius of Pontus observed that acedia “instills in [a believer] a dislike for the place [where he lives] and for his state of life itself.
The appropriate crisis intervention is to ask Jesus to restore one’s shriveled, acedia-damaged heart, followed by the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
2. Apocalyptic piety also means to engage in evangelization and mission in the face of opposition.
Jesus tells us that in these tough times: “It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
E.g Abba Ammoun of Rhaithou asked Abba Sisoes, 'When I read the Scriptures, my mind is wholly concentrated on the words so that I may have something to say if I am asked.' The old man said to him, 'That is not necessary; it is better to enrich yourself through purity of spirit and to be without anxiety and then to speak.' That is the Cursillo way.
3. A third aspect of Apocalyptic piety is your confidence and security that not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
Humorously, during a lesson about adjectives, my friend, an elementary school teacher, asked her class to describe their mothers. One boy described his mother’s hair as auburn.
Impressed by his sophisticated word choice, my friend asked, “How do you know her hair color is auburn?”
Her student replied, “Because that’s what it says on the box.” [Reader’s Digest].
“To deliver” a person from apocalyptic upheaval does not mean that God would make it all better right then and there. Many of them will still die as martyrs. But even with the special gift of fortitude that God will give them, over and above that, even in martyrdom, God will hold them in his love.