Age of the Gentiles

Here in the last week of the liturgical year (cycle B), the gospel for the day is taken from Luke 21:5-11. The text speaks of the coming destruction of the Temple (vv.5-6), signs of the end (vv.7-11), and then in verses 12 and following describes the persecutions that will follow. But pause at this moment and consider how you understood what was meant when you just read, “signs of the end.” If you are like most people you probably inserted “signs of the end times.” In our age we often take the apocalyptic sense of a reading to mean the end of time, the second coming, and all that has been portrayed in popular culture, movies, books, and even some scriptural commentaries. But Luke simply describes what follows the destruction of the Temple as “the time of Gentiles” (Luke 21:24) Continue reading

End Times and Becoming

Thirty-Third Sunday Ordinary Time

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch (Mal 3:19)

This is the kind of reading that brings back memories of growing up in the South. I would sneak off to summer tent revivals and listen to the pastors preach up a holy firestorm of hell and damnation. There was such passion, rhythm, and vitality – it almost as though they were the Sirens to my Ulysses. It was a preaching that left no doubt that the end was near, to get right with God, and to make amends. Continue reading