Reflecting on Lk. 21: 5-19
There have been some horrible days in history, days for which we give thanks we weren’t alive to see. Most of those reading this were alive on 9/11, and a good many of us were around for Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. Fewer, but still many readers, were alive the day of the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Fewer still, but some, witnessed the day the stock market crashed, October 29, 1929.
But no one alive today witnessed the horrifying invasion of Jerusalem by the general, and future emperor, Titus, at Passover of the year 70 of the Common Era (CE). Anyone could have seen this coming. The Jerusalem Temple had become an unwitting sanctuary for the Zealots, a terrorist group whose mission was to so demoralize the Romans that they would scatter and leave Jerusalem for good.
Think of the Resistance Movements all over Europe during the war. Those courageous citizens risked everything in order to free Europe of tyranny. Were the Zealots of the first century heroes too? Their usual method of terror was to ambush a group of Roman soldiers and murder them. The Romans were the Occupiers, of course, and despised and dreaded. But the Zealots also preyed upon Jews whom they deemed collaborators (like
Zacchaeus, the tax collector). Jesus invited himself into friendship with tax collectors. The Zealots murdered them.
It was the Zealots who so enraged the Romans that they marched into Jerusalem and destroyed it. This is the terrible event about which Jesus warns in the gospel today, when “not one stone” of the Temple would be left standing.
These end-of-the-world readings always precede the season of Advent. Ready the way.
How has the war in Ukraine made your prayer life more urgent?
Kathy McGovern ©2022