Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are very closed to the end of the liturgical year and today’s readings are full of darkness and doom. The first reading from the Book of Daniel talks about the end of time being a time of stress where some who die shall be in everlasting horror and disgrace, and the Gospel reading presents the end of time as being the day of tribulations, when the earth will shake and even the stars will fall out of the sky. Scary stuff, these ends of the world readings. But are they?[1]

Not realty. Let us back to the first reading: Daniel prophesies that many will live forever. The wise will shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament and those who lead the many to justice will be like the stars forever. And in Mark gospel Jesus ads, the elect will be gathered from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.

The early Christians did not look at the Second Coming and end of time with terror. Instead they saw it as a time when the Lord would return to his people and correct the injustices and the horrible crimes of the world. Therefore, the Christians prayed Come, Lord Jesus, come and recreate your world into your image.

The world has not changed all that much in its barbarity. People are still killed for whom they are. We are still receiving accounts of genocide throughout the world. Here, in our country, good people are criticized when they refuse to join immoral attitudes. To become a federal judge in this country, a person has to be in favor of gay marriage and abortion, among the other darling positions of the extreme liberals. People who hold their convictions firmly to themselves are still persecuted and criticized.

I tell you: the world has not changed all that much. And yet, it has, I mean the major change in the world is that with the Lord and our Catholic Faith and the teachings of the Church there is hope. There is hope that war will not have the last word. There is hope that hunger will become a bad memory. There is hope that racism will not for ever. There is hope that oppression will not have the last word. There is hope that those who do evil will not prevail: evil is not part of God’s plan.

The visions we heard today rely on us to take a role in the conquest of the Kingdom. My brother, my sister: we are assured that if we take up the battle of good against evil, good will prevails and we will join in the triumph of God’s forces. What are you doing to prevent the presence of the evil in your family, in your office, in your neighborhood?

Listen to the then section of the Gospel: Then you will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. That’s the Good New, the Gospel. We will see triumph of goodness and be present as the Lord gathers his own to himself.

Believing in the Lord and hoping in this promise, we turn our attention to the work at hand: preaching the Gospel through our words and deeds, even to those in darkness. Even when we feel ourselves surrounded by darkness. Still, we proclaim the Gospel, for we believe that light is coming. We do not know when. We do not know where. But we do know the He, the Lord of Light is coming. And so we continue to pray in the prayer He taught us, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ■

[1] Sunday 15th November, 2009, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Daniel 12:1-3. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope— Ps 15(16):5, 8-11.Hebrews 10:11-14, 18. Mark 13:24-32 [St Albert the Great].
Ilustration: Rafaello Sanzio, The Vision of Ezekiel (1518), Oil on wood (40 x 30 cm), Galleria Palatina (Palazzo Pitti), Florence.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris