You will be arrested and persecuted.
You will be handed over to religious and secular authorities.
You will witness to these authorities about Jesus.
You will be betrayed by family members.
Some of you will be put to death.
You will be hated by all because of Jesus.
(See Luke 21:5-19)
Suddenly the prospect of being a follower of Jesus Christ is a tad more ominous than making my mother feel happy because I got up and went to Church with her all those years ago. The promise of persecution, arrest, betrayal and death would not have attracted me to Jesus or the Church. Yet, here I am, aware of the cost of discipleship and committed to being a part of something profoundly important and relevant for today’s world.
The Church is not, as Jesus so clearly says in our Gospel today, about bricks and mortar. The Church is what’s left after the building burns down and the preacher leaves town. The Church is you and me, brothers and sisters. The Church is people willing to risk persecution, arrest, betrayal and death for the Gospel.
It’s not a matter of waiting for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The kingdom, God’s realm, is here among us, no more waiting. So the answer to the question of "when?" is "now!" When does Jesus come? Jesus comes today. The answer to the question of "how?" is whenever two or three are gathered together in his name, Jesus comes (Mathew 18:20). Whenever we break the bread and share the cup, Jesus comes. Whenever we proclaim the Word, Jesus comes.
Jesus Christ thinks we’re worth the effort; the question in today’s Gospel is whether we think that he’s worth the effort.