(Saturday, September 16)

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places… And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” (Mt 24:6-7,12-13)

Because today’s Gospel-reading, part of which is quoted above, may at first glance seem depressing, I decided to entitle this reflection as I did. Let’s remember that our Lord said these things to His disciples TWO THOUSAND years ago, when the Era of the Church was only beginning.

I think it is again just beginning, because human history, both our personal history and larger “histories,” tend to begin many times. As we’re reminded by yet another “New Year” being celebrated today, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, which is one of four “new years” that the Jewish calendar has annually. We also have at least four “new years” in the Orthodox Christian tradition, if you count both the Older and “New” Calendars, with January 1 and 14, and September 1 and 14, as “new years” that we have in our various calendars today.

My point is, let’s hear from the above-quoted words of our Lord the important words: “See that you are not troubled.” And also the warning: “the love of many will grow cold.” So, despite the depressing things we may be observing in our time, let us pay extra attention to our human capacity to make a new beginning, and to love; to “endure to the end” in love. Let us love one another! So that we may with one mind confess Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in gratitude for the faith we can and should nourish daily, in response to God’s undying faith in us. Thank You, Lord, for all of us, and for reminding us not to be troubled, as we walk in Your loving presence today, called to the dignifying and honorable cross of love.