Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mal 3:19-20a
2 Thes 3:7-12
Lk 21:5-19

Difficult Times

As we get closer to the end of the liturgical year, the Sunday readings take on a warning tone of destruction and suffering to come in the times ahead. The first reading from the prophet Malachi is a prime example: “Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts. But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”

In the gospel for this week Luke writes backward into history about events that already occurred as if they are about to happen in the future. “While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” In reality, the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and Luke’s gospel was written between 80-90 A.D.

Jesus goes on to tell them about the suffering, persecutions, and terrible happenings to come. Jesus assures them that, even in times of trouble, God is present to all believers. We know that Jesus gave the ultimate witness with his own death. We, as faithful followers, will trust in God’s compassion, mercy and loving care throughout our difficulties. Perseverance in the face of difficulties will lead to our salvation

When we read some of the trials Jesus mentions in the gospel we may well think that it was written in our own time. We have witnessed natural and human devastation that seems beyond belief. The power of nature and the perverseness of human actions shout out for understanding. It takes great faith and trust that God is still with us through it all. We have to constantly remind ourselves of the words of the Responsorial Refrain: “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.” We, and our short lifetimes, are but a drop in the bucket of human history. God has been present before us and will be long after us. We have to pray, deepen our relationship with God and trust, trust and trust!

What causes fear and concern in your life today?

What helps you place your trust in God?

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