1. Malachi 4:1-2
2. 2Thessalonians 3:7-12
Gospel: Luke 21: 5-19

                                    "  Where can we find God?"

There is this man who neither goes to Small Christian groups neither to the church. He goes about telling his friends that since God lives in everyone's soul, thus it is not necessary for anyone to go to the church to find God. His Parish priest learns about that, thus decides to pay a prompt visit to that man. While paying the visit to that man, being the winter season the parish priest finds the man warming in himself by the fire side. The man decides to invite the priest to join him at the fire side, of which the priest accepts. The priest being there, does not speak about the church attendance, although the man suspects that is why he came. They talk about weather. Meanwhile the priest uses the fire-tongs to remove a burning piece of wood from the fire and places it all by itself besides the fire place. Both men watch as the flames flicker and go out and in short time white ash covers the once blazing piece of wood. The man gets the message and . He returns  toe the priest and says, " Father, I will be in church next Sunday."  Like that piece of wood we need fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the faith in order to maintain the fire of our own faith. We really need the church.

That man is the vivid example of people who go to the extreme.  Moreover, there are people who go the other extreme, people who see the presence of God  only in churches and church services. In our today's gospel we have such people type of people. We are not told exactly who were they, however, some of them were the disciples of Jesus. They were fascinated and lavishly adorned with gold and silver offerings of the people. For them the temple is God's dwelling place on earth and the adornment of the temple means that the people's faith in God is strong. What a shock can you imagine when Jesus told them that this temple standing in all its glory and majesty is destined to be utterly destroyed leaving not one stone upon another? As a prophetic statement the destruction of the Temple was accomplished in AD70 by the Roman army under the command of Titus.

Jesus' saying on Temple is very significant not only for the people of his time but for the Christians of all times. We must remember that the people of Jerusalem who were building up and decorating the House of God were the same people  who were at the same time to planning to destroy the son of God. If they were able to see God  in the adornments of stone and gold, why couldn't  they recognize Him in flesh and blood? When a Temple becomes so superimposing that people are no longer to see God except in it, the time for its destruction has come. How can one explain the fact that the flourishing of Christendom in the Middle Ages was associated with the culture in which human life and human rights were cheap. We have concrete examples of what happened in the middle east. Think of torturing and killing of free thinkers, the burning of suspected witches and inhuman traffic in slaves, may be this could be that the more people exalted the temple as the house of God, the less the esteemed the human person made in the image of God. However, this should not be our case. Our faith demands that we recognize the presence of God in the human person as well as in the temple. St. Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are as sacred as the temple; that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, " Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" ( 1 Cor3:16).

The Christian who like the disciples in today's gospel sees God in the grandeur of the temple but not in the other people is only telling half of the story. The Christian like that man in our story who welcome the priest see God in the human person and not in the temple only tells half of the story. The gospel today challenges us to serve God in the temple and to serve Him when we gather for the worship. Bear in mind that we treat the other person with respect and dignity not because they deserve it by their own conduct but because God in them deserves it. Thus our lives in the church and outside the church should be integrated and continuous in  the act service of God.

There are four things that Jesus teaches us in our today's gospel about the end of the world: First, do not be attracted and be attached to your personal temple. The people admired at the temple because for them it was the center of religious and cultural life. They were proud of the Temple, but Jesus warns them that the day will arrive when it will be destroyed( as indeed it was in AD 70). Sometimes we admire the temples of our own time like: being famous, being politician, or being proud about those who are so close to us  etc. sometimes admiring worldly success one may skew true values, thus create unrest and dissatisfaction in his heart. The end of the Temple won't be the end of the religion.

Second, do not be deceived. Jesus does not answer directly about when the Temple will be destroyed, rather he tries to get his listeners to focus on what is really essential: their faith

Third, Do not be terrified. Tsunamis, floods, terrorist attacks, wars, abortion, euthanasia are happening now. Is the world the nice place today than in Jesus' time? Our Lord was not stranger to bad news. He knew about the tower in Siloam that killed  18 People (See Luke13:4) and he knew what awaited him on Good Friday. Yet He always remained hopeful and encouraged the best in people. As His followers we too must be witnesses to hope. We need to brighten the lives of those around us. Moreover, we need to remind others that God will win in the end.

Fourth, do not worry. " By your perseverance you will secure your lives," Jesus says in other words, we should be faithful until the end so that we will be able to secure the life to come or eternal life. Today's gospel invites us to reflect on the end of the world, not in an atmosphere of panic or fear but in an atmosphere of Christian commitment and Christian confidence by using our talents and resources not for selfish purposes but for the purpose of building God's kingdom on earth.

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Chapisha Maoni