Jesus never promised an idyllic life when one professes faith in Him. Quite the contrary, actually. In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 21, we hear about some of the things that may happen to us when we follow Jesus. It ain’t pretty. But the end turns out just fine, if we persevere. Listen to Jesus – “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
In the first reading today from Revelation 15, we see more of John’s vision in heaven. This one contains “seven angels with the seven last plagues, for through them God’s fury is accomplished.” Wait a minute…did he say God’s fury? But isn’t God all loving and all forgiving? Doesn’t that seem a paradox? I mean, if God is all loving and all forgiving, how could He possibly have fury? And how will that fury play itself out?
This hearkens me back to the flaky notion that there is no hell, and if there is then no one is in it, since God is all loving and forgiving. Nonsense! Those who put forward that idea are calling Jesus a liar. God is certainly all loving and forgiving to those who seek His ways. How do we understand these two seemingly contradictory images of God – a God of love and a God of fury? Later in the reading from Revelation, we find the answer, “Just and true are your ways, O king of the nations.” How just and true would it be if those who mock God, who do not repent of their evil ways, were not punished? The answer is not very just and true. There is no reason for anyone to experience God’s fury, though. How do we avoid it? As Jesus said, through perseverance – in faith, prayer, repentance and love.
Father, your ways are just and true. Help us to persevere so that we may never experience your fury. Amen.