Welcoming the Holy

Here we invite you to take time for yourself in personal prayer. The following spiritual reflection offers words and images which we hope will evoke for you an experience of God. 


 
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
 

Opening Prayer

Lord, as we draw near to the end of this liturgical year, make us more aware of your presence in the events of our lives. Let us not fear but continue to hope in you who desire only the best for us. We ask this in the name of Jesus your Son. Amen.

 

Scripture

Jesus said to his disciples, “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
“And they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.
“Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
           [Mark 13:24-32] 

 
 

Reflection

After reading these words, our initial reaction might be one of depression and doom. So much of what is happening in our world today seems to parallel this reading so we might be tempted to ask if the signs of our times might not point to the fulfillment of this reading.
It is important to know that the scripture is a form of literature called apocalyptic, a form whose purpose is to offer images of how things will turn out at the last days. Apocalyptic literature is favored by people who see, from the perspective of a tired and worn-out world, the need for cosmic change to be brought about by God. Such people see such change as the only hope for humanity.
The community for which this Gospel was written was in the midst of war, pain and confusion. The message was one of encouragement and hope – “Stick with it!” The audience was being told through the words of Jesus that even though it is hard, it is worthwhile. Because, as surely as you are standing there, you will be victorious when the Son of Man comes in the clouds with power and glory.

But that was the first century of the Common Era; Jesus didn’t come and still hasn’t come. War, pain and confusion are still very much around us so where’s the hope? Where’s the Good News?
Several years ago, the U.S. Bishops stated in their Pastoral Letter on Peace, “Christian hope about history is rooted in our belief in God as Creator and Sustainer of our existence and our conviction that the Kingdom of God will come in spite of sin, human weakness and failure.”
Jesus did not tell us the story of his nearness to frighten us, but to help us live our lives in a wise way, not to clutter it with useless items, not to waste it on things that will never last, but on life that will last forever and ever.
 
Reflection  How does not knowing when the end will come change the way I live my life?
 

 

Closing Prayer

 Lord, you alone know the day and hour. Help me to live each day prepared for your coming. Amen.