Our Gospel today offers some insights about what will happen at the end times.
Jesus is telling his people to live with readiness and awareness. Handling all with denial is a common coping mechanism in us humans. But it's also common to scan the headlines as you check the news on your phone each morning and think, "Nope -- that's not going to happen here." Followers of Jesus are to realize that it -- the tragedy, the evil, the persecution -- can happen here, where we are. Again, Jesus is not calling us into a state of paranoia, fear or hyper-vigilance. He's simply asking his people to be honest; to realize that this world is groaning and churning under the weight of sin and despair, and that such groans will only get louder until Christ returns to quiet them. If we do so, we won't be surprised or have the rug pulled out from under our faith when we feel the effect of them.