Fr Paul reads the Gospel from Luke (21: 20-28), in which Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and of a time when the powers of heavens will be shaken and when they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Fr Paul says, again, we are hearing Jesus in conversation with the disciples and, again, the theme is about the end and, again, Luke is using the destruction of Jerusalem as a focus.  In doing so the Gospel today has two elements to it. Firstly, it has accurate historical details because in the beginning it talks about the surrounding of Jerusalem by an army; and we know that the Roman army came and besieged the city and razed it to the ground. This reference talks of the Roman army and their destroying of the temple and Jerusalem.  Secondly, there is phrase after phrase from the prophets and this is a biblical way of indicating that the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem is the fulfillment of the prophecies.

In this Gospel with Luke focusing on this destruction we see the coming together of accurate historical data and biblical prophecies being fulfilled but, then, we see a change towards the end of the Gospel, we hear of the coming of the Son of Man and we now can glimpse what the destiny for the whole world is.  Jesus promises that the disciples will see the Son of Man come in power and glory, so it is a time of hope.

Fr Paul says for our reflection we might think about this theme of hope, the liberation, the being set free by the Son of Man who comes in to our world and, with that sense of hope, we again take these last steps in the last days of our Church’s year.

Fr Paul also commends to our prayers today, Fr Anthony Lemon – all of the priests of the diocese will be praying and offering their Mass for Fr Anthony today – as he undergoes a very significant and serious operation. With the theme of hope that this Gospel is giving us, Fr Paul asks us to hold in hope, in faith and in prayer Fr Anthony and the surgeons who are working on him for a beautiful outcome to his operation.  Please pray for Fr Anthony.