The bull of St Luke


Chapter 21 (21,5-38): Overview

We begin our reading of this chapter at 21,5 because we took together the two comments about widows in 20,45-21,4. We can note, as mentioned when we looked at chapter 20, the indication of a new beginning in 21,5. The scene is being set for Jesus' final discourse.

We can also confirm that there is a conclusion at the end of the chapter, 21,37-38. When we looked at chapter 19, we noted how these two verses form a bracket with 19,47-48.
A new phase of the Gospel story then opens in 22,1, the story of the Passion.

Thus we have a unity from 21,5 to 21,36 with this final discourse of Jesus.

Where is Jesus when he is giving this teaching? Perhaps better, where is he not (as in Mk 13,3 or Mt 24,3)? Look back to 19,29. What are the immediate consequences of this?

Read through the discourse, 21,5-36. Note down what seem to be the various parts, including the opening questions which are the introduction to the discourse. Look for lines which form new beginnings and look for key words.

Then compare Luke's version of the discourse with that of Mark, chapter 13. What verses in Mark correspond to 21,5-6 and, with that, what verse in Mark is parallel to the questions in 21,7?

What is Luke's major change to the discourse in Mark? What are the main verses in Mark that he has left out?

From the comparison, check that there are the seven parts of the discourse, 21,7-36. Note how these are marked out by phrases and expressions added by Luke.

Look for the key word in verse 7. It is found also in verses 11 and 25.
From this, can you spot how Luke has put together his discourse?
For this, compare 21,11-12 with Mk 13,8-9. Compare also 21,25 with Mk 13,24.

Take a look now at my response.

Reading Plan

Our investigations indicate that it is from verse 25 that Jesus is looking to the future, picking up the theme of signs announced in verse 11.

We need to divide the discourse into two for our reading and verse 25 is therefore the place to do this. Hence our two pages are:
21,5-24: earthly events
21,25-36: heavenly portents

The Sunday Gospels

Much of the second part (21,25-28 & 34-36) forms the gospel for the 1st Sunday of Advent in year C.
The Gospel for the 33rd Sunday is taken from the first part (21,5-19).

We will consider these Gospels further with each part. That the second part is used at the beginning of the year and the first part at the end is an indication of the different emphases the Church places at the beginning and end of its year.

We will see how all this unfolds as we read the chapter. We begin with the earthly events of the first part, 21,5-24.