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This is the last week of the Church year –  Advent begins on Sunday. The Gospels invite us to think about endings: about the end of the world, the end of history; the end of each one of us.
Today, Jesus is in the temple. He heard some people talking about how beautiful the building was and he said to them: 
‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ 

This shocked people to hear Jesus predicting of the destruction of that magnificent temple. It was the centre of the Jewish faith and seemed indestructible. Yet Jesus said it would come to an end: ‘everything will be destroyed’. 

This week the Church invites us to think about the end. This is not a topic we normally chat about over a cup of coffee with friends. Thinking about the end of the world, the end of history; the end of our own lives might even make us a little uncomfortable. 

Contemporary values encourage us to build our lives into temples of happiness. We are drowned in words which say our lives should be: happiest, best, healthiest, newest, richest, most fashionable. The message is all about the ‘here and now’

Every day, we are surrounded by this message: the call to ‘get more’ and ‘be happy’. We can easily fall into the trap of living our lives only for the ‘here and now’. We append all our energy on making our lives into ‘temples’ of happiness as though our lives are indestructible. 

Jesus’ words today shake us out of this dream world. He reminds us: 

‘Everything will be destroyed!’ 

It is as though Jesus is saying to us: ‘All these things you are enjoying and looking for now – the time will come when … everything will be destroyed.’ 

Jesus spoke about false prophets who would come saying, ‘I am he’ and saying they have the truth. 

We must recognise the false prophets offering the gospel of pleasure, possessions and money. They come into our homes and families every day: through TV, advertising and the internet. They can influence how we think about life. 

Jesus says to us today:  

‘Take care not to be deceived … Refuse to join them!’ 

Jesus wants us to live in the real world; to see our lives as they are – not with false hopes created by the world’s values. It can be good sometimes to stop and think: 

  • What will the end of my life be like? 
  • What will I leave behind? 
  • What will it be like when I meet Jesus face to face? 
We do not ask these questions because we fear death, but to avoid the dream world of contemporary values; to avoid living with the false hopes of pleasure, possessions and money; to avoid trying to build our lives into ‘beautiful temples’ which do not last. 
Jesus offers us not death but abundant life. That promise of endless life invites us to build our lives here and now into temples where God and neighbour are loved; to build temples which cannot be destroyed.