Today’s reading: Mk 13:1-13
Today we read of Jesus’ foretelling of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jesus says that “there will not be left here one stone upon another.” This prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Romans sacked the city. The prophecy was fulfilled explicitly in that the Temple, which was covered in gold, was set afire. The gold melted and ran down filling the spaces between the stones. The Romans, in their zeal to claim total victory, took the Temple apart stone by stone to obtain the gold between the stones.
Jesus also says that “Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray”. This happened often in ancient Israel and even up until today with one political figure after another claiming various degrees of messianic titles. What is important for us to understand is that God often raises up the reluctant leader.
Finally, after Jesus describes the persecutions that will happen he states specifically, “But he who endures to the end will be saved.” With hindsight, we can clearly see that Jesus prophecy did not relate solely to the destruction of the Temple but also to the world at large. As it was God’s dwelling place the Temple represented the entire world. The conflicts Jesus described where, “nation rises against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” has happened countless times throughout history. However, Jesus was not referring solely to political entities but also to political nations rising against the Kingdom of God (which is the Church) and to the kingdom of Satan rising against the Kingdom of God. These things will happen over and over again until the end of days. With all this great conflict, danger and suffering, who will be saved? Jesus tells us … those who endure to the end. To “endure” means to carry on during the face of difficulties. Thus, we see the idea of “once saved, always saved” is refuted by Jesus. Further, we see that suffering is a necessary part of the perfection of faith and one’s soul.
Tomorrow: Mk 13:14-37