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Memorial of Saint Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, he said, “All these things you are staring at now—the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another; everything will be destroyed.” And they put to him this question, “Master,” they said, “when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that it is about to take place?” But he said, “Take care not to be deceived, because many will come using my name and saying, ‘I am the one’ and ‘The time is near at hand.’ Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified, for this is something that must happen first, but the end will not come at once.” Then he said to them, “Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines in various places; there will be terrifying events and great signs from Heaven.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase my faith, hope, and love. May your Kingdom come in my heart, family, nation, and the world.
- One More Reminder: In this last week of the liturgical year, we revisited various passages used in the Church’s liturgy on previous Sundays as we approached the Solemnity of Christ the King. The Church is, in a certain sense, offering us a wake-up call. She is fostering a sense of realism and anticipation in our hearts. We are faced with the reality of the end-times. The daily news can easily cause us anxiety about a possible and impending doomsday. But the Good News offers a different reality. Jesus warns that despite wars and revolutions we are not to be afraid. The disciples would understand more fully only after the Resurrection, when Jesus proved that he is capable of triumphing over evil.
- Nation against Nation: World history has taught us that the human heart can be treacherous and divisive. Since the beginning of time, man has sought to dominate and rule, many times, at the expense of a brother, sister, neighbor, friend, community, or nation. The dialectical tension points to a division in the heart of man that is not resolved merely by force or an overthrow of power. It requires a deep purification of memory, forgiveness of hurts, and a willingness to put aside greed, jealousy, and all the temptations that can entrap the ego.
- Awaiting a Sign: The longing for resolution points to a final battle still to come—the final consummation of Christ’s reign over all injustice. Witnessing natural and human-made disasters reminds us that we are still in need of Christ’s definitive Kingdom, which we access through our faith, hope, and love. This is possible only through the power of the Holy Spirit that makes present the redemptive victory of Christ in the world. The destruction of the Temple, brought about by a nation against another nation in the year 70 A.D, reminds us that a new order has been established. It is an order that requires human cooperation, but ultimately comes to fulfillment through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, grant me true peace amidst the chaos that exists in the world. May your Kingdom come and reign in my heart, in families, nations, and the world. Strengthen my hope in your triumph.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on the areas in my life in which I need to exercise greater hope.
For Further Reflection: Spe Salvi.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”
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