I’m sure you all remember the hullabaloo surrounding the weeks leading up to the end of the last century. Dire predictions of the end of the world and a collapse of the world order were everywhere. Had Our Lord been here he would have said the same thing to us that he says to his followers in today’s gospel: “Take care not to be misled.”
Some of Our Lord’s followers, like the doomsday prophets, were obsessed with finding the signs of the end times so that they could be prepared. But prepared for what? Like the crowds marvelling at the temple’s precious stones and votive offerings, too many people wanted to store up only what they and their families would need, and of course in some extreme cases the weapons to defend those precious stores.
Our Lord reminded the people that even something as solid and magnificent as the Temple would not remain standing forever. Wars are an unfortunate fact of human society. Natural disasters: earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, are built into the earth’s very elements. These are ‘signs’ of nothing more than nature taking its course. What we do in the face of such storms is what Our Lord came to earth to show us. As we prepare for the coming season of Advent, we should heed Our Lord’s words: “Do not be misled”. Let us focus instead on what we can do to live at peace with ourselves, with our neighbours, even with our enemies. In doing so, we will be at peace with God, and then even if not a stone of our life is left standing, our foundation will remain solid.