We are reading the final chapters of Luke’s Gospel for Year C. Jesus is in Jerusalem and the passages we hear are talking about end times. The people gathered are obviously excited, having seen how magnificent the Temple is, but the time for excitement might not be just yet. Jesus reminds them, and us, that these things are short-lived and we should not be too bothered about ‘fine stonework’ and ‘votive offerings.’ These things do not last.
At some point, we have all seen and heard someone shouting on the street or on the internet about the end of the world. You’d be forgiven for thinking that today’s Gospel is trying to achieve the same thing. Jesus tries to comfort the people regarding various crises that will happen; the call is to take a broader perspective, to look at the bigger picture. Endurance is the message of today’s gospel. The people of Jerusalem will witness the destruction of the Temple, the disciples will face persecution. He warns that for people of faith, there are tough times ahead. Whatever crisis may come, Jesus is asking people to keep going, to stay focused and not be afraid. Michel de Verteuil once wrote: ‘Lord, when we are young we think that we become great through our achievements. Life has taught us the truth of Jesus’ words: it is by endurance that we win our lives.’