34th Week in Ordinary Time
There will not be left a stone upon another stone.
Imagine the people’s response to these words from Jesus. He had just finished evicting corrupt money changers from the Temple. It was also in the Temple courts that he confounded hypocritical religious leaders. Then, he praised the generosity of a woman who had made a small but meaningful donation to the Temple’s upkeep. Surely Jesus loved the Temple and was about to usher in a time of peace and restoration for God’s holy dwelling place!
So the people must have been shocked when instead of peace and prosperity, Jesus predicted the Temple’s destruction. How could that be? This was the dwelling place of God, the very center of the Jewish religion. Tradition even held that it was the very center of God’s creation—not to mention, without the Temple there could be no annual Rite of Atonement. Imagine how upsetting this image would have been to Jesus’ disciples, almost all of whom were faithful Jews!
Well, as Jesus predicted, the Temple was destroyed. It happened in AD 70 when the Roman army moved in to put down a Jewish uprising. It was seen as a complete catastrophe—an undeniable triumph of the forces of evil over the will of God. But true to form, God was able to take this tragedy and bring great good out of it. With the Temple gone, the early Christians could grasp even more deeply the central truth that God now lived in them by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s just as true today as it was in AD 70: Christ dwells in you, always. He also dwells in a special way in every tabernacle around the world. And he dwells in every one of your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Are you struggling to understand a tragedy? It could be something deeply personal or something profoundly upsetting on the news. By all means, grieve and mourn the loss. Cry out to God for healing and strength. But at the same time, hold on to your faith. Believe, even against all hope, that God still has you in the palm of his hand. Believe, despite your fears and sadness, that he is already at work to bring good out of evil.
“Jesus, I trust in your love and your wisdom. Help me to surrender this hard situation to you.”
(Psalm) Daniel 3:57-61
Word Among Us