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SCRIPTURES & ART: ‘All that you see here,’ says the Lord, ‘the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.’
The liturgical year is running toward its end. Advent starts in two weeks. 
In these last weeks of Ordinary Time, the Church’s readings turn toward the Last Things, including the Last Judgment and the Last Day. Traditionally, that is the subject of the last Sunday in Ordinary Time and the First Sunday of Advent, two Sundays that followed each other until the 1969 Roman Calendar reform interpolated the Solemnity of Christ the King between them. That makes sense: creation began in the Son of God, and that is where it will end. The universe ends not so much in a what (the Last Day) as a who (Jesus Christ).
In today’s Gospel, the Apostles are admiring the Temple of Jerusalem. It was something to admire. It had been lavishly reconstructed by Herod the Great in an effort to get the Jews to love him, something that would never happen. Like most of his infrastructure projects, sacred and secular, Herod built on a grand scale and, since this was the center of Jewish life and identity, the Jewish people spared no expense to ensure it was appointed with only the best.
Jesus prophesies its destruction. It would be in AD 70, by the Romans, after an unsuccessful Jewish uprising that resulted in laying siege to the Holy City.
Jesus also identifies signs of the end times. He warns against too facile an interpretation of those signs, a temptation that has afflicted every generation of Christians. The signs, however, are clear: wars, uprisings, plagues, famines, earthquakes and “awesome signs” in the heavens. Those times will also be accompanied by false prophets claiming to speak in Christ’s name (“’I am he.’”) and by a persecution of the Church and the faithful.
Jesus’ advice is to stay calm and to rely on him. “I will give you a wisdom in speaking.” At the same time, he does not camouflage the reality of persecution: “You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives and friends and they will put some of you to death.” The Christian cannot expect a smoother road than Christ’s.
Today’s Gospel is illustrated by French artist James Tissot. “La predication de la ruine du Temple” (The Prophecy of the Destruction of the Temple) is another gouache (opaque watercolor) dating from the period 1886-94, part of his “Life of Christ” and about the time he was traveling in the Near East. The painting, like most of Tissot’s works, is in the Brooklyn Museum. 
Jesus sits opposite Jerusalem, its massive walls and structures facing him, the terraces outside those walls visible. His head is bowed, almost in regret, at what is coming. Four disciples face him, listening attentively, equally struck by his words.
Do I believe that this world will end, that its history and my life will be summarized into an eternity of beatitude or damnation? We may not know how it will end, but that it will is part of our faith — just as the question of creation is faith in that God made us, not how he did it. As Christians, we are baptized into Christ’s death in the hope of resurrection. Our very vocation as Christians is to lead us to and through that definitive page of human history. Do I consider that’s where my life is headed? And what am I doing about it?
John Grondelski John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) is former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. He is especially interested in moral theology and the thought of John Paul II. [Note: All views expressed in his National Catholic Register contributions are exclusively the author’s.]
SCRIPTURES & ART: Today’s readings affirm two major truths: that there is life after death and there is a resurrection of the dead
SCRIPTURES & ART: Zacchaeus’ eyes are all for Jesus Christ
SCRIPTURES & ART: ‘Whoever exalts himself will be humbled,’ warns Jesus in today’s Gospel reading, ‘and whoever humbles himself will be exalted’
SCRIPTURES & ART: In doing what God wants of us, we’re doing God no favor — we’re simply doing what we’re supposed to do.
The congress, which is the culmination of the National Eucharistic Revival — a three-year initiative by the U.S. bishops to inspire Eucharist belief — is expected to draw some 80,000 people.
The Archdiocese of Mexico noted the great impact that photographing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1923 had for Manuel Ramos.
The nuns at the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites of St. Teresa in Havana are grateful for generosity and the True Presence.
User’s Guide to Sunday, Nov. 20, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
‘The Church’s vocation is to bring joy to the world. A joy that is authentic and enduring. The joy proclaimed by the angels to the shepherds on the night Jesus was born.’ — Pope Benedict XVI
“The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice. … And since in this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner … this sacrifice is truly propitiatory.” (CCC 1367)
SAINTS & ART: Much is expected from one to whom much is given. Noblesse oblige.
‘Chance,’ says Anatole France, ‘is only the pseudonym God uses when he doesn’t want to sign his name’
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