1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
The prophet Jeremiah looks forward to a time when the Lord will restore the defeated Northern Kingdom of Israel and reform the corrupt Southern Kingdom of Judah (Jerusalem). This will take place through the person of a descendant of King David.
Today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel contains the final part of Jesus’ reply to his disciples, who wanted to know what signs would indicate the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem (and by implication, the destruction of Jerusalem with it). Amidst times when everything appears to be falling apart, they are to stand in confidence that Jesus will come to establish the rule of God upon the whole earth.
Saint Paul encourages the Christians of Thessalonia to continue the life of love and holiness they have learned in Christ. In this way they will be ready for the Lord Jesus at his coming again to fulfill God’s plan to restore the earth.
Comment: Jesus did not give his followers specific time-tables for the “end of the world.” Still, many things he described did take place literally within his generation, including the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. I find it quite helpful to take this message about the impermanent nature of our world and our history seriously. All the things (and people!) upon which we rely will pass away. All human governments and projects come and go, but the words of Christ remain with us as a constant. I cannot know a date or time when Jesus will come again, that is, when all people will be healed and united under Christ’s way, truth and life. But I don’t need to know this date. What I need to know is Jesus himself. Whenever and however he comes, I know I can stand in trust and thanksgiving before the one who unfailingly offers himself by the cross to love and redeem me.