34 Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Daniel 2: 31 – 45; Ps Dn 3; Luke 21; 5 – 11
Jesus’ prediction of the fall of the temple shocked His hearers and surely saddened Jesus Himself. This is the house of His Father – a most sacred place – so sacred that with vehemence He will cleanse it because it had become a marketplace. The fall of the temple does not mean the end of the Father’s presence nor the end of a relationship with Him – God does not depend on buildings for His presence among us.
To their urgent questions about when this will happen, what will be the signs – Jesus gives no answer. What is more important to Jesus, more important than even a sacred place is their salvation because Jesus is true to His name “Savior.”
Rather His message is, “See that you are not deceived, for many will come in My name…Do not follow them.” Jesus speaks of deception because it is a possibility in anyone’s life. We can pride ourselves on being too smart or too spiritual or too anything that we would ever fall into being deceived by voices without or voices within. To think that I/you are above being deceived is to be deceived.
Jesus told a parable about self-deception – we know it as the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. The Pharisee, if you recall, standing where he could be seen reminded God of all his pieties and saw himself far superior to the Publican whose simple prayer was for mercy. The Pharisee, a victim of self-deception, was pleasing to himself and not to God; the Publican, living in truth, was far above being deceived. Priding self on hours of prayer, of time given to sacred reading, of being the perfect monk, the perfect Christian is too have joined the Pharisee in front of the church.
To love the Lord, to follow Him means seeking to live in vigilance because our relationship with the Lord is the most important relationship we have. Listen to the Lord: “Seek first His kingship over you. Love God above all things…Follow Me…I am the way, the truth and the life.” This is living true vigilance, of living in the Light that exposes all deceit.
The prayer at the end of Vigils is very fitting for today’s Gospel: “Lord God, send forth your light and your truth that they may guide us through the darkness to the place where You dwell in light inaccessible.”