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Gospel for Sunday, November 13: Luke 21: 5-19


5While some were speaking of the temple, which was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, he said: 6“The days will come when, of what you see, not one stone will be left upon another that will not be destroyed.” 7They asked him: “Teacher, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign when they are about to happen?” 8He replied: “Be careful not to be deceived. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘It is I,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them! 9When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified, because these things must happen first, but it is not the end immediately.” 10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, 11and there will be earthquakes, famines and pestilences in different places; there will also be terrifying events and great signs from heaven. 12But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, handing you over to synagogues and prisons, dragging you before kings and governors, because of my name. 13You will then have the opportunity to bear witness. 14So make sure you don’t prepare your defense first; 15I will give you word and wisdom, so that all your adversaries will not be able to resist or argue. 16You will even be betrayed by your parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will kill some of you; 17you will be hated by everyone because of my name. 18But not even a hair of your head will be lost. 19With your perseverance you will save your life.”

Luke 21: 5-19

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

The apocalyptic genre (from apo-kaluptein = to unveil, remove the veil of mystery) is a meditation on the prophetic announcements regarding God’s interventions in history, but above all an imaginative rereading of the theology of the “Day of IHWH”: it would have been the moment of God’s final judgment against the unfaithful nations and against sinful Israel itself (Is 13,6-13; Zeph 1,14; Joel 4,14-20; Zech 14,1; Ml 3,14-19.. .), but also of the salvation of the righteous after a period of tribulation and affliction, with earthly or future retribution (Dan 9; 11; 12…). In a time of crisis and oppression, hope is renewed in God who, through his Messiah, will intervene to defeat the wicked and make the good triumph.

In today’s Gospel passage we talk about the destruction of the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem (70 AD), which Herod the great had built about fifty years earlier; there is talk of false prophets who will present themselves as divinities to be worshiped, attributing to themselves the very Name of God: “Egó eimi: I am” (Lk 21.8); of world wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues; there will also be terrifying events and cosmic tragedies (think of climatic upheavals…) (Lk 21,10-11), and terrible persecutions of believers (Lk 21,12.16-17).

But these events – heresies, wars, persecutions, cosmic phenomena – are not so much a prediction of future disasters: Jesus considers them as typical and recurring situations, which the disciple must always be ready to face. It is the history of all men of all times that is dotted with these moments of fear and anguish.

In today’s Gospel there is first of all a warning. As Francis states: “This speech of Jesus is always relevant, even for us who live in the 21st century. He repeats to us: «Be careful not to be deceived. For many will come in my name” (Luke 21:8). It is an invitation to discernment, this Christian virtue of understanding where the spirit of the Lord is and where the bad spirit is. Even today, in fact, there are false “saviors” who try to replace Jesus: leaders of this world, holy men, even sorcerers, characters who want to attract the minds and hearts, especially of young people. Jesus warns us: “Do not go after them!”. «Don’t go after them!»”.

Then the Gospel gives us a Word of consolation and hope. Ermes Ronchi writes: “Where is the good news about God and man in this Gospel of catastrophes, in this flashing of swords and falling planets? If we listen carefully, we notice a profound rhythm: the bud of hope is superimposed on every image of the end. Luke 21.9: «When you hear about wars and revolutions, do not be terrified, it is not the end»; to vv.16-17: «You will be imprisoned, betrayed, some will be killed, you will be hated, but not a hair of your head will be lost»; and again in vv. 25-28: «There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, in the stars, and on the earth anguish and fear: but rise up and lift up your heads, because your liberation is near». Every description of pain is followed by a breaking point, where everything changes, a bend that opens the horizon, the breach of hope: «Don’t be scared, it’s not the end; not even a hair…; rise up again”… Beyond deceptive prophets, beyond wars and betrayals, even when hatred should spread everywhere, here is that heartbreaking expression: “But not even a hair of your head will be lost”; doubled by Mt 10.30: «The hairs of your head are all numbered, do not be afraid»… Because God, like a lover, takes care of every detail of his beloved”.

Enzo Bianchi states: “The disciple knows that nothing can separate him from the love of Christ: neither persecution, nor prison, nor death (see Rom 8:35)… In every adversity, the Christian must fear nothing. He must only continue to trust in the Lord Jesus, accepting his promise: “With your perseverance you will save your life”. Here is the Christian virtue par excellence, hypomoné, perseverance-patience: it is the ability not to despair, not to let oneself be discouraged by tribulations and difficulties, to remain and last over time, which also becomes the ability to support others to tolerate and support them. Christian life, in fact, is not the experience of a moment or a season of life, but embraces the entire existence, it is “perseverance to the end” (see Mt 10.22; 24.13), continuing to live in love “until the end”, following the example of Jesus (Jn 13:1). This is why this evangelical passage does not speak of the end of the world, but of our here and now: our daily life is the time of difficult yet blessed (see James 5:11) and saving perseverance”.

Pope Francis comments: “The Lord also helps us not to be afraid: in the face of wars, revolutions, but also natural disasters and epidemics, Jesus frees us from fatalism and false apocalyptic visions. Jesus… reminds us that we are totally in God’s hands! The adversities we encounter for our faith and our adherence to the Gospel are opportunities for testimony; they must not distance us from the Lord, but push us to abandon ourselves even more to him, to the strength of his Spirit and his grace.

In the end, Jesus makes a promise that is a guarantee of victory: “With your perseverance you will save your life”. How much hope in these words! They are a call to hope and patience, to knowing how to wait for the sure fruits of salvation, trusting in the profound meaning of life and history: trials and difficulties are part of a greater plan; the Lord, master of history, leads everything to its completion. Despite the disorders and disasters that disturb the world, God’s plan of goodness and mercy will be fulfilled! And this is our hope: to go like this, on this path, in God’s plan that will be fulfilled. It is our hope.”

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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