October 31st, 2021
Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 24, 1-36
Jesus left the Temple, and as he was going away his disciples came up to draw his attention to the Temple buildings. He said to them in reply, ‘You see all these? In truth I tell you, not a single stone here will be left on another: everything will be pulled down.’ And while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives the disciples came and asked him when they were by themselves, ‘Tell us, when is this going to happen, and what sign will there be of your coming and of the end of the world?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘Take care that no one deceives you, because many will come using my name and saying, “I am the Christ,” and they will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for this is something that must happen, but the end will not be yet. For nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All this is only the beginning of the birthpangs. ‘Then you will be handed over to be tortured and put to death; and you will be hated by all nations on account of my name. And then many will fall away; people will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise; they will deceive many, and with the increase of lawlessness, love in most people will grow cold; but anyone who stands firm to the end will be saved. ‘This good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed to the whole world as evidence to the nations. And then the end will come. ‘So when you see the appalling abomination, of which the prophet Daniel spoke, set up in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those in Judaea must escape to the mountains; if anyone is on the housetop, he must not come down to collect his belongings from the house; if anyone is in the fields, he must not turn back to fetch his cloak. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast, when those days come! Pray that you will not have to make your escape in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unparalleled since the world began, and such as will never be again. And if that time had not been shortened, no human being would have survived; but shortened that time shall be, for the sake of those who are chosen. ‘If anyone says to you then, “Look, here is the Christ,” or “Over here,” do not believe it; for false Christs and false prophets will arise and provide great signs and portents, enough to deceive even the elect, if that were possible. Look! I have given you warning. ‘If, then, they say to you, “Look, he is in the desert,” do not go there; “Look, he is in some hiding place,” do not believe it; because the coming of the Son of man will be like lightning striking in the east and flashing far into the west. Wherever the corpse is, that is where the vultures will gather. ‘Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven; then, too, all the peoples of the earth will beat their breasts; and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet to gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. ‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you when you see all these things: know that he is near, right at the gates. In truth I tell you, before this generation has passed away, all these things will have taken place. Sky and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. But as for that day and hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, no one but the Father alone.