Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ 18 November 2018
This Sunday is the second to last Sunday of our liturgical year. As we approach the end of the Church year, our Gospel invites us to consider Jesus’ predictions and teaching about the ‘end times’.
Mark’s Gospel was written 30 to 40 years after the death of Jesus. This was a time of political turmoil in Rome. Christians experienced persecution by the Romans during the reign of the emperor Nero (about 64 A.D.). Jewish revolutionaries rebelled against the Romans, which led the Romans to destroy the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
In this time of political turmoil and persecution, many from the early Christian community recalled what Jesus predicted about the destruction of the Temple.
The Temple was an architectural wonder of its time! Much money and labour went into its construction. And yet Jesus drops a bombshell: Not one stone of this Temple will be left intact. Jesus clearly says, “This Temple is coming down.”
In this statement, Jesus was predicting not only the temple but all that we value most will crumble to the ground, false saviours and messiahs, will mislead the faithful, nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Famines and diseases will have their way throughout the land.
How are we to make sense of all this today?
Understood in the context of our world, the Gospel, for all its outward strangeness, addresses fittingly the present uncertain situation of our world and the dismay many experience as a result of it.
Even to this day the followers of Jesus are persecuted in many parts of the world, many stand trial, bear witness, and testify to Jesus and the values that he imparts, some even to the day of their martyrdom.
Following Jesus was never an easy task, but Jesus accompanies his predictions with a promise: “Don’t be anxious, I will be with you till the end of time, I will give you words and wisdom.”
That’s how Jesus is, he never leaves His Church without breath. He never leaves His baptized believers without the Spirit, the breath, and words to confess the faith.
So, let us not worry about what we are to say when it’s our time to speak. We must just keep coming to receive God in Word and Sacrament. Keep getting filled with Jesus until we are overflowing with His thoughts and words. The Spirit will use all of it. He will use every Scripture we have read, every sermon we have heard, and every hymn we have sung as the raw material for the words that we must speak, we will be speaking Christ’s words and wisdom.
The basic message to the faithful is, hang in there despite all that is happening to you and the world around you – the world remains in the hands of God, who will not let evil and oppression triumph over us.
Blessings – Fr George Carlos Sdp
The Cathedral of St Patrick & St Joseph