|The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary
Psalms 16:5, 8-11
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
We are nearing the end of the liturgical year and in today's readings there is a sense of things passing away. In listening to the readings for today you might want to hear also a funny or cute story which will make facing and praying with God’s Word a bit more pleasant.
Those who purchased electric generators for the Y2K disasters might feel moved to locate the starting button for them and put in new supplies of water and canned goods. The First Reading will provoke the old worry about whether we are going to be found in “the book.” There is this anxiety about whether we will shine like the stars or live forever in horror. There will be great distress, but for those “who lead many to justice,” they are the stars. The prophet Daniel holds out hope, but who are the “wise” of whom he speaks?
In the Gospel, Jesus turns up the heat even more. The chapter from which we read today begins with four of the apostles asking questions about when will it all be over; when will all the temple be destroyed? Jesus playing the role of the eschatological weatherman foretells worrisome things. The sun is going to be darkened and the moon will not give its light. Then in that darkness, the Son of Man will be able to be seen and the “elect” will be gathered. Oh dear, more worries about whether we are the “elect” or not. We don’t know the day this is going to happen, not even the angels know. This sounds like “Why me too K” we don’t even know how to prepare or where to hide. It does sound like God is trying to scare us into a darkness in which we have nothing to do except be frightened into faith.
We recently had our national and local elections here in the United States and next week the Canadian national elections will be held. We in North America have had our minds and hearts centered on who is “in” and who is “out.” Each person running for office wants to say the correct thing depending on the audience. Each candidate wants to be in the right place for the most inclusive coverage. The readings today invite us from fear to faith. What we believe is that which we have heard and seen Jesus say and do during this soon-to-end liturgical year. Everything is passing away except the son of Man Who has come to lead us to justice and has given us the wisdom to follow His ways.
In the Northern Hemisphere of the earth, we read the signs of endings. Trees’ leaves have left; the sun has drifted away taking its warmth and light. We are moving toward the darkest and coldest time of the year, but we know the sun will return and all things will grow again. Two weeks from today is the First Sunday of Advent and today’s readings begin our waiting and watching, not with trembling fears, but tremendous belief in Jesus Whose words will never pass away.
The candidates have been elected or selected. Teams, companies, military units and even marriage partners have been chosen. Anxieties are not bad nor unspiritual, but are part of our relationship as humans with our Creator. As the song says from the play, Oliver, “Consider yourself at home. Consider yourself one of the family.” Jesus has come and stayed and yet will come in His fullness to bring about His justice which is the compassionate embrace of God’s ever lasting love. Put the generators away for the next real bad storm, but may our anxiety generate trust and longing for the coming of Christ our King.
“It is good for me to be with the Lord and put my hope in Him.”
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