Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Today's readings are scary.  The trouble is, they are not make believe. Daniel says that a time is coming which will be unsurpassed in distress.  Jesus also talks about this. These sections of Daniel and of the New Testament are written in the literary genre we call apocalyptic writing. This genre use poetry and prose, and engages the imagination and emotions.  It is meant to scare people into recognizing the horrors of sin and the devastation that sin causes[1].

The end of the world is not make believe, and it will be a scary time. But is it a scary time for everyone? Not according to our readings. Daniel is told that his people, the people who remain faithful to God, shall escape. So the question is, “How scared should we be?” The answer is really another question, “How committed to God are we?” If we are committed to the Lord, we have no reason to fear the end of time. We know this. In fact, every day we pray for the strength to remain committed to God no matter what crisis we face.  We do this every time we say the Lord’s Prayer.

It is not easy to be holy. We live in a society that promotes self indulgence. Loving God and loving neighbor can’t exist in a self indulgent society. Neither action adequately answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”  The immoral elements of our society attempt to dupe us into believing that it is normal to put ourselves before others.

The self indulgent elements of our society cannot see the value of another person except as a means for one’s  advancement.  People routinely use other people for their own gain.  There are so many people in the world who are suffering; yet so many in society can see no profit in reaching out to help them.  “What good will it do me, here in America, if I try to help the poor in the Sudan?” they ask within themselves without daring to voice the question.  The concept of helping others because they bear the image of God carries with it no personal gain, at least not here on earth.  It takes tremendous courage to withstand the temptation to care only for oneself.  It takes courage to trust God to be with us when we reach out to others.  It is counter cultural to truly be charitable.  It is also Christian.

The Lord knows that we can withstand evil. He gave us free will.  We can choose to be separate, to be holy, to be His. He gives us His Grace. He gives us both the desire and the ability to see where He can be found and where His image is absent.  We cannot allow the self indulgence of society to convince us that we have no choice but to join in with the evil. We are not evil. We are good.  In fact, all people are good. This is how God created us. He calls us to holiness, He is calling us to be true to ourselves.  He is calling us to  recognize His goodness in ourselves and in the world and to serve Him in His creation.

We do not fear the end of time.  Nor do we fear the end of our own time, our death.  What we do fear is giving in to the world and rejecting God.  Now that’s scary

[1] 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Novemeber 15, 2015. Readings: Daniel 12:1-3; Responsorial Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11; Hebrews 10:11-14, 18; Mark 13:24-32. 

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