“Countries will fight each other; kingdoms will attack one another. There will be earthquakes everywhere, and there will be famines. These things are like the first pains of childbirth”.
Mk 13:8 GNB
The disciples of Jesus lived in a country that knew plenty about war and fighting. It sat between the powerful nation of Egypt on its south and the other powerful nations of Assyria, Babylon and Persia to the north. Greece had also conquered it and now it was subject to Roman control. Jesus knew that this sort of turmoil would go on. When it started there was no need to panic. The earth was still on its axis and the sun would still shine.
“Whatever the outward circumstances or your inward faith, trouble would still come. It always has done. Trouble is normal” – this was the message of Jesus. “It will all be a test of your faith.Faith becomes stronger when it is put to the test. You learn and you grow when you are under pressure. So be on your guard and don’t let circumstances catch you unawares or throw you off your purpose in life”. This was the meaning behind the warnings Jesus was giving them. They were going into a cauldron of war, trouble, confusion, opposition, bloodshed and danger. They needed to be strong. They would have a cross to carry – like his.
And we disciples of the twenty-first century must not expect to find the surrounding circumstances to be a bed of roses. Turmoil, confusion, economic hardship, climate change, over-population and pressure from super-powers – this is our context and we must expect things to get worse. In the midst of it all is Jesus – the Christ of the resurrection. Our mission is to bring hope in the chaos.
Lord, make us messengers of hope in your world today.