Archive for category Luke

Luke 12:49-53 Jesus: a cause of division

The new millennium has witnessed and continues to witness various and different faces of violence, division and situations of unpeace. Hardly any day passes that we do not hear the sad news of violent aggression and brutality unleashed against innocent people somewhere around the world. To make matters worse, perpetrators of these acts of violence often try to justify these atrocities by claiming that they are fighting a holy war in God’s name. Think of the crusades, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. And the latest is the ISIS or ISIL.

Today’s readings are indeed a call to war: not a war against other people but a war against sin and evil; not a war against people we perceive as evil, but a war against the evil one, the devil.

Jesus shocked his disciples when he declared that he would cast fire and cause division rather than peace upon the earth.  This is a disturbing word knowing Jesus as the Prince of Peace who has come “to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Lk 1:79) and to dispense peace “among those whom he favors” (Lk 2:14) Here he makes it clear that he cast fire and brings division rather than peace.  In Matthew’s parallel verse (10:34), Jesus brings a sword.

Is Jesus contradicting himself on his teachings about love peace and unity? Is Jesus contradicting himself the fourth precept of the Decalogue or Ten Commandment which is, “Honor your father and mother!” Certainly not. Jesus, in saying those paradoxical words, did not intend to destroy family and other human relations, ties and institutions. Rather he was only telling his disciples, in a forceful language, the following:

First, to choose and to follow Jesus is a matter of personal choice. No can one can make decision for us. Not even the Church or the State. Not even our family. And when we choose, either we choose and follow Jesus or reject him. There is no middle way. There is no half-way. There is no other alternative. There is no other option. Please bear in mind that our sanctification and salvation depend on the kind of choice we make. Choose God and you choose life, happiness and peace.

Second, if we opted to choose and follow Jesus then our loyalty, obedience and faithfulness to him must be urgent, exclusive and unparalleled. When it comes to hierarchy of values and priorities in life, God always takes precedence over possessions and relations. To choose and follow Jesus only and always may  sometimes bring division and conflict. This is the necessary consequence and cost of following Jesus. This substantially explains the paradoxical words of Jesus in today’s Gospel.

Third, Jesus’ message of love, peace and unity does not necessarily mean that we compromise with evil and tolerates injustices and wrong-doings. Peace and unity that we rightly desire can be achieved not by compromise, force and violence but by doing the will of God for us and through us. Let this Christian moral principles always guide us: Do good and hate sin! Love sinner and hate evil!

In today’s Mass, Jesus invites all of us to examine who we love first and foremost.  Does the love of Jesus Christ compel you to put God first in all you do (2 Corinthians 5:14)? A true disciple loves God above all else and is willing to forsake all for Jesus Christ.  Jesus insists that his disciples give him the loyalty which is only due to God, a loyalty which is higher than spouse or kin because it is possible that family and friends can become our enemies when they prevent and hinder us from following  and serving the Lord.

Let our “faith in God leads us to turn to him alone as our first origin and our ultimate goal, and neither to prefer anything to him nor to substitute anything for him” (CCC 229).

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Luke 12:32-48 Dependence on God

Our God is not only an almighty (cf. Jer 27:5; 32:17; Lk 1:37; Wis 11:21; cf. Est 4:17b; Prov 21:1; Tob 13:2), merciful, gracious (Ex 34:5-6; cf. 34:9), truthful (Ps 119:160; 2 Sam 7:28; cf. Dt 7:9) and loving (cf. Dt 4:37; 7:8; 10:15; cf. Is 43:1-7; Hos 2; Jn 3:16; cf. Hos 11:1; Is 49:14-15; 62:4-5; Ez 16; Hos 11; Is 54:8,10; Jer 31:3) Father (2 Cor. 6:18); cf. Mt 6:32). He is also a God of freedom (” (Deut 30:19-20;  Mt 6:19  ).

Though God wills that all men may be saved and come to the fullness of truth (1 Tim 2:3-4), that is, Jesus Christ who is “the way, the truth and the life” (see Jn 16:1; 14:6), He always respect our freedom of choice. That is why we, as His people, are always given a choice to make: life or death, heaven or hell, peace or violence, sinfulness or righteousness and prosperity or misery.  Our future,  then, depends entirely on the quality and quantity of choices we make today. If we choose death, then death would be ours. If we choose heaven, then heaven would be ours. If we choose happiness, then hapiness would be ours. You are always given a choice but be responsible with that choice. What you are, who you are now and in the future are products of your own choices.

In the Book of Deuteronomy, God confronts His people with decisive moral choices: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them” (Deut 30:19-20).

In today’s gospel narrative Jesus also confront his disciples to make a choice.  Are you laying up for yourselves corruptible treasures or incorruptible treasures? Whatever option they shall make, Jesus warns them to avoid being preoccupied in acquiring, possessing and hoarding anything that moth can destroy , rust can eat away, thieves can break in and steal. Instead, he admonishes them to store up heavenly treasure which neither moths nor rust corrode nor thieves break in and steal (see Mt 6:19).

It is better to understand the text as referring to treasures that are already experienced in this life but continue to be valuable for eternity. “These are things whose fruit one enjoys in this world, while capital is laid up for one in the world to come: honoring father and mother, deeds of loving kindness, making peace between a man and his fellow; and the study of the law leads to them all” (cf. Sir 20:30, 41:14; see JBC 42:43).

Who stores for himself a treasure in heaven while on earth? He, who does not just perform good acts but gives the best of himself. He, who pursues good and chooses it in concrete action. He who freely practices the good. He who practices virtues…like prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope and love. He, who lives virtuous life, becomes like God (see St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinis, 1: PG 44, 1200D).  This is the reason why “people, in seeing our good works, give glory to God our Father who is in heaven (see Mt 5:16). Hence,  “fill your minds with whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious. Do everything that deserves praise and admiration” (Ph 4:8).

Jesus, then, exhort his disciples to possess a good eye and a good heart. Or singleness of purpose, purity of heart (Mt 5:8), undivided loyalty. What, then, is our goal that deserves our singleness of purpose and purity of heart? To whom shall we pledge our undivided loyalty?  The longing and  desire for heaven  or the single indestructible longing for God, for an eternity spent in intimate, blessed communion with him is the deepest desire of human heart. Heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). These deserve our singleness of purpose, purity of heart and undivided loyalty!

God has granted us an amazing freedom to determine our eternal (and earthly) destiny by our choices and actions. To use the beautiful expressions of St Paul:  “A man will reap only what he sows” (Gal 6:7). “He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully” (2 Cor 9:6). The option will always be ours. But we are forever responsible of the choices we make. As the Pepsi advertisement aptly says: “You are the product of your own choices.”

My dear friends in today’s gospel the Lord is giving us a choice. Are you laying up for yourselves corruptible treasures or incorruptible treasures? Make a choice for a lifetime. Store up heavenly treasure which neither moths nor rust corrode nor thieves break in and steal (see Mt 6:19).

 

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Luke 12:13-21 Parable of the Rich Fool

So far as we are informed, the rich man mentioned in the scriptures who died while his barns were bulging with goods that he couldn’t use was not an evil man. Jesus didn’t say that he was dishonest, immoral, or lazy. The man was rich prior to the harvest, and the harvest simply increased his wealth. Certainly, he appears to have been very successful in his occupation. He must have been an intelligent and industrious worker to have accumulated such a great amount of wealth. The Lord didn’t call him a sinner; he merely said he was a fool.

Why such harsh condemnation? The man is a fool “because he has forgotten how the saying goes, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.‘  The saying applies strictly in his case; he will die during the night that begins the new day.  Therefore, his grand plans are worthless” (Tannehill, 206).

Was this not a provident man who had worked hard all his life, saved his money and invested wisely, and now deserved to retire in comfort? Where had he failed?

First, the rich failed to restrain his obsession for possession and wealth. In the story we are told that he was so obsessed to hoard more, to possess more and to acquire more not knowing that death awaits him and caught him by surprised and, therefore, he was unprepared for his untimely death. And that costs him his soul. Indeed “Greed never rests from the acquiring of more” (On Love of Wealth 1 [Mor. 523 E]; L. T. Johnson 1991:198) until death puts a stop to it.

Second, he had failed to recognize the principle of stewardship. In his eyes, they were his barns, his fruits, his goods. He had forgotten, if he ever knew, that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, that every material thing we possess is by His sufferance and only temporarily.

Possessions or wealth are stewardship, not to be hoarded selfishly but to be used to benefit those around us. Jesus is not saying possessions are bad, but that the selfish pursuit of them is pointless. When the creation is inverted, the value of possessions is distorted. Those who climb over people or ignore them in the pursuit of possessions will come up empty on the day God sorts out our lives. What a tragic misuse of the gift of resources this man had gained! What could have been an opportunity for generosity and blessing became a stumbling block to the soul.

Third, having forgotten that, it was only natural that his use of his wealth was so self-centered. The hint of his problem lies in the man’s use of the first-person pronoun.  Go through the parable and circle the words “I” and “my” to get a sense of the man’s self-absorption.  In his short conversation with himself, he uses the word “I” six times and the word “my” five times.  There is no thought of a bonus for his hired hands or a service project for his community.  There is no word of thanksgiving to God for this tremendous harvest.  Everything is “I” and “my.”

All of it was to go into his enlarged barn for his ease. One commentator writes, It is mischievous error with which he starts, “I have not where to bestow my fruits”; and St. Ambrose has answered well, “Thou HAST barns, – the bosoms of the needy, – the houses of the widows – the mouths of orphans and of infants.” (Richard C. Trench, op. cit., p. 341) There was no thought of sharing, no concern for the poor, no awareness of brotherhood.

What is this rich fool guilty of? He is guilty of greed or avarice which he greatly manifested by his self-absorption and obsession for possession and wealth. Greed, an inordinate desire for material things, is one of the seven deadly sins. An avaricious person offends against justice and charity and becomes insensitive to the needs of his neighbor, so keen is he on his self-aggrandizement. “If you are inclined to avarice,” say St Francis de Sales, “think of its folly: it makes us slaves to that which was intended to serve us. Remember how we must leave everything when we die; perhaps those who get our wealth then will only squander it, and even to their ruin” (“Introduction to the Devout Life”, 4, 10). To use of the words of St. Paul, he is guilty of the love of money which is the root of all evil  (see cf. 1 Tm 6:10).

Greed is an insidious trap that has the power to destroy those whose obsession for wealth and possession becomes the driving force of their lives. Greed is the devious, sinister, evil influence that makes people say, ‘What I have is not enough. I must have more. So that I will be more.’

Greed or avarice is the great cancer eating out the heart of mankind; and the Lord in his teaching here moved to lead men away from it. Human wants are insatiable; and getting only adds to the appetite for more. Paul associated it with moral uncleanness (Ephesians 4:19), calling it “idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). It is an evil that destroys man’s life here and hereafter.

Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.” What does it profit a man if gains the whole world and loses his soul? Hence, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:33).

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Luke 18:1-8 Parable of the Persistent Widow

 

Charles L. Allen once said, “When you say a situation or person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.”  I do not exactly the context when and why he  said it but considering the message in itself in the light of the gospel we can somehow conclude that he was indeed correct when he said it.  Why? Because there is no such thing as hopeless situation only people who have grown hopeless about their situation. And more importantly, with God nothing is hopeless. No one is hopeless. To the one who believes nothing is impossible. To the one who persistently prays nothing is impossible.

 

The gospel  parable that we just heard is commonly known as the “The Parable of the Persistent Widow.” As the title suggests, the main theme of the Gospel is PERSISTENCY IN PRAYER.

 

There are people who have stopped praying because they claimed their prayers were not answered by God or they can no longer stand the delay. The way this group of peoply pray is this: “Lord, I pray for this. And I want it here and now.” Fundamental question about prayer such as “Until when should I pray?” always pops up like adwares, starwares and trojan viruses in the internet even among the devout believers? Today we are happy to know that the theme of today’s gospel parable gives us an explicit and direct answer to the question.

 

Considering the gospel as a whole it gives us several points:

 

First, the duty to pray, to pray constantly, to pray with confidence and persistence. As Jesus assures us: “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you.” To the one who prays like this, the heavenly Father will “give whatever he needs,” and above all the Holy Spirit who contains all gifts (see CCC 2613). 

Second, the answer to the prayer, persisted in, is certain. “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will” (Mk 11:24). Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes” (Mk 9:23; cf. Mt 21:22).  This is best articulated to us by Bruce R. McConkie when he wrote: 

“If an unjust earthly judge will finally dispense justice because of the repeated importunities of the widow, how much more shall the God of all the earth, who is the embodiment of perfect justice and impartiality, grant the just petitions of his faithful saints.” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 1: 542.)

 

Third, God is always on the side of the poor, needy, exploited, and oppressed. When we are suffereing and when we are in need, exploited, and oppressed the more reasons for us to pray with confidence and persistence because the Lord is always our side. If the evil judge grants justice to the widow, however reluctantly, how much more will a loving God vindicate God’s people in times of need and crisis.

 

Fourth, prayer is rooted and flows from faith. When we are no longer praying constantly, confidently and persistenly it’s a sign, an indication that our faith is already wavering. This is the reason why Lord warns for the failure of faith when he comes again as judge both of the living and the dead. See to it, therefore, that you still believe and pray with persistence even in a seemingly hopeless situation, even in times of desperation, even in moments when God seems to be sleeping, far and busy with other concerns.

 

If you belong to those group of people who stopped praying because they claimed their prayers were not answered by God or they can no longer wait   pause and think about this:

 

God always says yes to our prayers. The yes of God however is not the yes we want it to be. If he does not give us our request, it is because he gives something better.

 

Yes God always reply to all our prayers. His reply may be as follows:

 

1. Yes

2. Wait

3. I have something better for you.

 

When you pray always consider and be consoled with these:

 

1. The love of God that wants the best for us.

2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.

3. The power of God that can accomplish it.

 

Allow me to end my homily with an exhortation taken from the letter of Paul to the Thessalonians:

 

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus, “ (1 Thess. 5:16-18).

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Luke 4:1-13 Temptation of Jesus

The longing and  desire for heaven  or the single indestructible longing for God, for an eternity spent in intimate, blessed communion with him is the deepest desire of human heart. Heaven is “the ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness” (CCC 1024). This is always what we pray for, what we strive for, what we hope for. But there were and will always be temptations, trials and tests on the way that will prevent us, hinder us and steal away from us the heaven that we long for.

The Gospel for today tells of Jesus’ retreat and temptation in the desert and the beginning of his preaching of God’s good news. Today’s Gospel simply tells of Satan tempting Jesus without describing the nature of temptation. But what is clear is that Jesus passed the test and overcame the test and temptation.

What is temptation? A temptation is anything than inclines a person to commit sin. It is enticement to evil, seduction to sin and death. Though it is not a sin it is more than trial or test because it lead us to sin. Once we enter into, give in to and submit to, temptation we are already committing sin which will bring us alienation, corruption, death and ultimately hell where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

What distinguishes temptation from trial? Trials or tests are necessary for growth while temptations incline us to sin. “No one who is tempted is free to say, “I am being tempted by God.” Surely God, who is beyond the grasp of evil, tempts no one” (Jas 1:13). God tests the heart puts his own in trial (1Th 2, 4) while only Satan tempts them (Lk 22,37; Ap 2, 10; 12,9). Trial is indispensable condition for growth (cf. Lk 8, 13ff), for sturdiness (1 P 1, 6f), for the manifestation of the truth (1 Co 11, 9: the reason for Christian divisions) and humility (1 Co 10, 12). When we overcome trials, temptations we are proven to be steady and strong (subok na matatag at subok na matibay. Thus freed, tried and tested Christian knows how to discern, verify and “try” everything (R 12, 2; E 5, 10). Trial is therefore the condition of the Church which is still to be tested, although she is already pure; stll to be reformed, although she is already glorious.

St. Paul assures us that “God will not let you be tested beyond your strength. Along with the test he will give you a way out of it so that you may be able to endure it” ( 1 Cor 10:13; cf. CCC 2848). In fact St. Paul wrote that we should even boast of our tests/afflictions, knowing that afflictions produce endurance, and endurance, proven virtue (cf. Rom 5:3-5; CCC 2897).

Sources of temptations:

  • Some temptations arise from within ourselves. “The tug and lure of      his own passion has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin reaches      maturity it begets death” (cf. Jas 1:14).
    • Our passions and emotions incline us to long for attractive gratifications even through doing acts we know are evil.
    • Pride incline us to sin.
    • Imperfection of our very nature are sources of sin more particularly concupiscence and bad habits or vices.
  • We also experience temptations from the world. Persons, places and      things can be occasion of sins to us. Even things good in themselves can      be incitements in us to seek the attractive goods in unreasonable ways.
  • Faith also recognizes Satan, once an angel, but now hostile to God      and to us, as one source of temptation. In his hatred for God, he seeks to      drive us toward sinful and self-destructive choices (CCC 394-395).

Consequence of being tempted: slavery to sin, alienation and separation, death and ultimately hell where Satan dwells and where Satan reigns and where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth because of it unquenchable fire.

How do we handle with temptations?

  • Avoid temptations and keep yourself busy. Idleness is the workshop of the devil.
  • Resistance, faith and vigilance. Stay sober and alert because your enemy the Devil is like a prowling lion, waiting for someone to devour. Resist him and solid in your faith.
  • Prayer. In communion with their master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; “only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation” ( cf. Lk 22:40, 46). “Pray that he will not let you be tested beyond your strength” (cf. 1 Cor 10:13). Pray that the Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to be overcome by it (cf. CCC 2846). Nothing is equal to prayer; for what is impossible it makes possible, what is difficult, easy…Those who pray are certainly saved; those who do not pray are certainly damned.
  • Repentance and conversion. Always return to the Lord with fasting, weeping and mourning. For he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness and relenting in punishment.
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Always seek in everything the will of God. Nothing more, nothing less and nothing else.

Temptations are not themselves sins and no one entirely escape temptation. Hence, every time we celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass let us always pray that God our Father “lead us not into temptations and allow us to overcome by it (cf. CCC 2840)” then address this prayer to him: “Deliver us Lord from all evil and grant  us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us pray from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ”  (Missale Romanum, Embolism after the Lord’s Prayer, 126).

“Happy is the man who holds out to the end through trial! Once he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life the Lord has promise to those who love him” (Jas 3:12)

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Luke 21:12-19 The Coming Persecution

Thomas Edison, a famous inventor, known for his extraordinary diligence, observes: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

The theme of today’s Gospel narrative is perseverance. Jesus warns his disciples of the coming sufferings, persecutions and divisions as a result of their choice to follow Jesus as their teacher, lord and savior and promises salvation if and when they persevere in the face of trials to the very end: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:22).

Persecution for righteousness sake is a permanent feature of Christianity. It is indispensable consequence for following the Lord. The call to follow Jesus is the call to take up and carry the cross daily. This is understandable because the more we follow Jesus the more we become like Jesus. And the more we become Jesus, the more the world will hate us. As the Lord was persecuted and suffered in the hands of the Jews, so will his followers be. No disciple is greater than his Master.

Yes, suffering, trials and persecution cannot be avoided but “whoever perseveres to the end will be saved” (Mt 10:22). Somebody once said that Christianity is not for starter but for finisher. Hence, James assures anyone who perseveres to the end of happiness and eternal life: “Happy is the man who holds out to the end through trial! Once he has been proved, he will receive the crown of life the Lord has promise to those who love him” (Jas 3:12).

What are some of the qualities of a persevering person or a person willing to persevere to the end for the faith he professed? Persevering person possesses a combination of three traits: energetic resistance, steadfastness under pressure, and endurance in the face of trials.

“The call to discipleship is a call to continue. To carry on. To persist. To endure. To finish. The Lord needs finishers, those who make the commitment and then walk the road—no matter the difficulty or challenge—to the very end” (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship). Hence, never
give up, nor give in. Don’t quit. Take this similar reminder from General Douglas MacArthur: “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”

Faithful to the mission received, the Church today needs disciples who are ready and willing to persevere to the end even to the point of sacrifice and death. Be ready, therefore, to suffer and to die for the sake of Christ and his Gospel. Remember, “Christianity is not for the cowards”, said St. Athanasius.  In doing so, you will receive the crown of eternal life promised by the Lord at the same time proclaimed, built up and spread the Kingdom of God here on earth.  As St. Irenaeus beautifully puts it, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christianity.”

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Lk 19:41-44 The Lament of Jerusalem

Jesus’ earthly ministry centers and culminates in Jerusalem, the holy city, dwelling and throne of God (Jeremiah 3:17ff.); the place which God chose for his name to dwell there (1Kings 11:13); and the holy mountain upon which God has set his king (Psalm 2).  Jerusalem derives its name from the word “salem” which mean “peace”.  The temple in Jerusalem was a constant reminder to the people of God’s presence with them. Why does Jesus weep and lament for this city?  

All this moved Jesus to tears because he saw something which others did not see. He saw the coming destruction of the city. He knew that all of his efforts to avert the tragedy had been repulsed and rejected (Charles L. Childers, op. cit., p. 588). As prophesied by Jesus, it did happen. William Barclay describes the tragic event: 

“Jerusalem fell to the Roman armies in A.D. 70 after a desperate siege in which the inhabitants were actually reduced to cannibalism and in which the city had to be taken literally stone by stone. Josephus says that an incredible number of 1,100,000 people perished in the siege and 97,000 were carried away into captivity. The Jewish nation was obliterated; and the Temple was fired and became a desolation.” 

It was indeed a tragic moments of destruction, loss, and shame to the chosen people and nation of God. Only Jewish Christians who remembered and heeded God’s warning were spared on that unforgettable event in the life of the Jews and Israel. As James E. Talmage vividly writes: 

“The warning to all to flee from Jerusalem and Judea to the mountains when the armies would begin to surround the city was so generally heeded by members of the Church, that according to the early Church writers not one Christian perished in the awful siege (see Eusebius, Eccles. Hist., book iii, ch. 5)…As to the unprecedented horrors of the siege, which culminated in the utter destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, see Josephus, Wars vi, chaps. 3 and 4. That historian estimates the number slain in Jerusalem alone as 1,100,000 and in other cities and rural parts a third as many more. For details see Josephus, Wars ii, chaps. 18, 20; iii, 2, 7, 8, 9; iv, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9; vii, 6, 9, 11. Many tens of thousands were taken captive, to be afterward sold into slavery, or to be slain by wild beasts, or in gladiatorial combat in the arena for the amusement of Roman spectators. 

“In the course of the siege, a wall was constructed about the entire city, thus fulfilling the Lord’s prediction (Luke 19:43), ‘thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee,’ in which, by the admittedly better translation, ‘bank,’ or ‘palisade’ should appear instead of ‘trench.’ In September A.D. 70 the city fell into the hands of the Romans; and its destruction was afterward made so thorough that its site was plowed up. Jerusalem was ‘trodden down of the Gentiles,’ and ever since has been under Gentile dominion, and so shall continue to be ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’ (Luke 21:24) (Jesus the Christ, 545).

Why did this tragedy happen to the chosen people of God even in Jerusalem considered to be a holy city, a dwelling and throne of God? Because the Jews remain in their stubbornness of heart and in their unbelief. These great destruction, misery and humiliation would have been avoided if, and only if, the Jews had received the Son of God, hailed him as Lord and Savior of mankind, and led the campaign for all nations to accept his authority. If, and only if, the Jews had recognized the time and the visitation of your God in Christ Jesus they would have been converted, believed and followed Jesus who is Prince of peace and  the source and model of that renewed humanity, imbued with brotherly love, sincerity, and a peaceful spirit…” (Vatican II). 

What is the main message for all of us? If and when we also persist in our stubbornness of heart, arrogance, unbelief, sinfulness and wickedness we will also suffer the same fate. Let us, therefore, heed God’s call to repentance, conversion, and new life in Christ. Today, if we hear the voice of God harden not our hearts. Let us repent and believe in Jesus and his Gospel while it is not too late! Ask God for a new heart and a new mind. Ask God that He will take away our stubborn heart of stone and give us an obedient heart (see Ez 36:26).

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