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A Heart Set in Eternity
Thursday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, know that its desolation is at hand. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Let those within the city escape from it, and let those in the countryside not enter the city, for these days are the time of punishment when all the Scriptures are fulfilled. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives to all the Gentiles; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
Opening Prayer: Lord, I am here to listen to you on this day of Thanksgiving. Bring me closer to your heart and make my heart more like yours.
- Jesus Speaks Only Truth: Jesus predicted the actual destruction of Jerusalem by Rome, which occurred in 70 A.D. Luke wrote his Gospel after this had happened, reminding the disciples and us that Jesus was right about this prediction. Everything Jesus ever said was true, including the prophecies of his death, his resurrection, and “the resurrection of our body and life everlasting,” as we recall each Sunday in the Nicene Creed. Jesus does not want us to fear anything. He spoke to teach, to give us hope, to call us to him, and to call us to repentance.
- Be Not Afraid: Every day, people give in to fear. That is why in Scripture we find the phrase “Be not afraid” 365 times, once for every day of the year. When we see that signs of destruction, dismay, illness, disease, and sin are rampant, we have a choice to make. Will we give into fear and die of fright in anticipation of what is coming (Luke 21:26)? Or will we trust in the Lord and not give into fear? How do we not give into fear? By taking time to read Scripture, and turning to prayer and the sacraments. Every time we find ourselves giving into fear, we can fall back on the living word. “In Sacred Scripture, the church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, but as what it really is, the word of God In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them” (CCC #104).
- Message of Hope: Jesus told us that all these signs, which will cause some to give in to fear, are also signs that our redemption is at hand, and that we should stand tall and raise our heads. If we honestly believe that our life is all about meeting Christ one day in heaven, we will live with our eyes and hearts set on eternity. A soul that longs and hopes for heaven has no room for fear. Hope is the virtue of desiring the right things, confident in God’s willingness and ability to give them to us. Hope is greater than fear.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, I want to be a person of hope; I want to live with my heart set on eternity. Help me to live gratefully on this Thanksgiving day, but spiritually detached so I can love, pray, and hope as you have called me to.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace if I find myself tempted to fear the unknown, or fear distress in my day, I will remember to say a prayer of thanksgiving and reflect on a favorite passage from your word.
For Further Reflection: Pray the Thanksgiving Day Prayer from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Tima Borges lives out her vocation as a wife and mother of four in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys the outdoors, reading, writing, and working in apostolate. More of her writing can be found on her personal blog at https://timaborges.wordpress.com.