Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 21, 20-28

'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you must realise that it will soon be laid desolate.

Then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it.

For this is the time of retribution when all that scripture says must be fulfilled.

Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come!

'For great misery will descend on the land and retribution on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every gentile country; and Jerusalem will be trampled down by the gentiles until their time is complete.

'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the turmoil of the ocean and its waves;

men fainting away with terror and fear at what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.

And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Gospel passage speaks of Jerusalem’s destiny. The evangelists Matthew and Mark announce only the end of the temple, while Luke adds also the destruction of the holy city. The Church, having us hear this passage as the liturgical year is about to end, wants to help us to meditate on the end of time. And it is good to pay attention to the end of time, or rather, to the goal towards which our earthly existence is oriented. We do not walk in a space which is empty or swept away by senselessness. The Word of God reveals to us the end of our life: the heavenly Jerusalem. Yes, we walk with eyes fixed on the heavenly city where the Lord awaits us to embrace us together with all the saints. The image of the heavenly Jerusalem - presented in the Book of Revelation—is meant to stress that Christian salvation is not at the individual level, but at the communal one. Yes, the Lord does not save us one by one taken individually, but as a community, as a people, as, precisely, a city. Salvation, for Christians, passes through their commitment for the society in which they live, for the city in which they dwell. Christian faith has an inescapable social dimension; it means we are not saved by ourselves, but only if we seek, impelled by the Gospel, to be "leaven" of love for human society, if we seek to make the "light" of the Gospel shine through the byways of the world, if we are "salt" which renders human life full of flavour, that is, beautiful. The Gospel image of Jerusalem besieged and treaded-upon leads us to think also the situation today of Jerusalem, the city of the three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. We cannot forget her; for us too are true the words of the psalm: "Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you Jerusalem" (Ps 137:6). Its hardships are also ours, and our prayer should not cease so that it again becomes the "city of peace," as its very name says. Through it we catch a glimpse of the heavenly Jerusalem, where all the peoples will gather around the true God. And the present disorder in the world, which the evangelist describes in apocalyptic language, but which also well describes "the distress of nations confused," leads us believers to "stand up and raise [their] heads" because the Son of Man is near, has even come to dwell amidst humans so that the world no longer exist under the yoke of evil and violence. He has come to show us all the way of peace. To us believers, in a very particular way, the Lord has entrusted the responsibility of showing the world the beauty and strength of the Gospel of love and peace.