Today’s Reading is Matthew 24:9 - 14 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
This passage is part of a discussion that Christ is having with the disciples about the end of time. He’s telling them to stay strong in their faith even though they hear of wars and disasters, but says this is the beginning of birth pains for the end. This passage then makes the end of time much more personal and paints a very horrible picture of what will happen to them as his followers. He describes how we will be tested in many ways and that many will turn and sacrifice each other to save themselves.
An example of strength that I believe we can learn from is the armed services. You hear over the years, stories of men throwing themselves on grenades to save their buddies. Usually they didn’t even have time to think about it and assess their action, they just reacted out of love. I believe that’s how we’re called to act. We should have so much love for our fellow man that we don’t even think about protecting them, we react to protect them out of pure love. We need to be practicing this each and every day so that we’ll react positively when the opportunity arises. Even though we may endure pain and suffering we must keep in mind that the ultimate end is not the short life we have on earth, but the everlasting life we’ll have with Christ.
We will be pushed to our limits and at that moment we will see the person we truly are. Will we be very strong and loving people through all the pain and suffering? Will we be willing to throw ourselves on the grenade without thinking?