33C19. Malachi 3:19-20a. God prophesies that the day is coming when the heat will be like an oven that burns up the proud and the evildoers into nothing but stubble. That statement was in stark contrast to those who give God the honor that is due him, for whom the heat of the sun will gently give healing.
Luke 21:5-15. As the Sundays of this liturgical year draw to a close, the readings invite us to think of the days when this world is about to end. Jesus predicts, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left stone upon another stone.” And that was to happen roughly forty years later, when the Romans counterattacked against the Jewish revolution and destroyed the temple in 70 AD. Since then wars, revolutions and terribly destructive things have happened, still the end has not come. False saviors have come and gone, persecutions and horrors have been rained down against God’s good people but we survive on. Although they destroy our bodies as they did the Maccabees, our life in the Lord helps us to persevere on to secure our eternal salvation. God is faithful to those who are faithful to him. He walks with us and is our spiritual life within our flesh. Christ, our life within us, enables us to live to the fullest the life that God has given us. Those who kill our physical life do not kill our spiritual life. In our reading Jesus says, “You are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.” This is but one way that shows he is our only source of strength that will enable us to gain eternal victory. Our adversaries can put to death a body that was only going to die anyhow. Their evil actions achieve nothing of value for them but only serve to compel us to seek out Christ even more urgently. Jesus says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12. When Paul was ministering to the Thessalonians he did not live off of their donations to him but he continued to work for his own daily bread. Paul did that, he says, because “we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us.” As we pass through this world on our way to heaven, Paul is insisting that we do so in an orderly way serving as a model to one another and not as a distraction or disruption. In Paul’s time there were those who were disorderly, “by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.” God the Father wishes that his children work daily for the salvation of souls both here on earth and later in heaven. God constructed this universe in an orderly way as an example of how we are to live in his world.