My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The Gospel for this Sunday begins with the description of apocalyptic events preceding the coming of Our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ at the end of time. However in this terrifying image of those events there is also an image of the fig tree awaking to new life and sprouting new foliage.
Can you recall a catastrophic event from the Bible? Something you could tell right now. If I am correct most of us would tell the story of the Great Flood, wouldn’t we? Can you remember what gave new hope to Noah and his folks in the ark when they were surrounded by the vastness of flood and contemplating the severity of distraction around them? It was a dove bringing a fresh little twig of olive tree, the sign that there was still future for them in the world that was destroyed.
Today we are feeling shattered, as extend of the destruction caused by evil hatred unfolds in the Capital of France. Although thousands of kilometres from our doorsteps it does make us question how secure our own homes are here, how secure our loved ones traveling at the moment are, what kind of future we have. The events like in Paris face us with brevity, fragility and unpredictability of our lives.
The words from today’s Gospel Jesus uttered while standing on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem and particularly the magnificent Temple there. The Jesus’ talk, we hear in our churches, was triggered by the people who drew his attention to the beauty, magnificence and physical solidness of that building. Jesus however looking at what was the essence of life for them is predicting the destruction of the place. And he was so right. Before a generation passed, within 30 years the Temple was destroyed. Some could say: He was God, why didn’t he stop the cataclysm? Some could ask today: Why didn’t God stop the mad men in Paris? However watching with unbelief the scenes from France, probably in the same way the Jews were watching the destruction of their holy city Jerusalem and its Temple, I see an extra image coming from the Words of Our Lord: the image of the fig tree starting sprouting. The tree I am talking is the one which grew on the Calvary, the tree which was to be an execution tool but instead it has become the tree of life as the Bible teaches us. On that tree evil people killed the Giver of life, God’s only Son but on that tree life appeared, as our Salvation began. As people of faith we see in all tragic events the sign of hope because God's word cannot mislead us. Lots of us would like to make sense of such events like those in Paris. The ultimate sense can be reached only by holding fast to our faith that God is greater then the evil that threatens us.
My Dear Friends! We don’t say that it was will of God for those Parisians to be killed. However it reminds us that devil is real. As St Peter says: “Be alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
I would like to invite you to turn your prayers to the Archangel Michael mentioned in our first reading, the great prince who stands up for us. The Church has always sought the protection of the Archangel in the fight against devil. Let us turn to this great protector of God’s people now as we pray:
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do You, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.