Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 14, 2021
When dealing with “apocalyptic Readings” (end of the world), it’s an easy thing to wander away from the GOOD NEWS, and find oneself in a dark forest filled with THREATS, PUNISHMENT, PAIN, AND DEATH…the sort of things the world population has been dealing with for almost two years now.
All humanity has been traveling an expressway, without exits or rest stops, headed directly into darkness. The scenery along the way has been filled with horrific images. So, on this 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, it is particularly important to slow way down and look for a “turn-around.”
We need to change course before the conclusion of this liturgical year. After all, we want to approach the Advent Season with an unobstructed view of the growing Light…off in the horizon…The Light of Christ.
Let’s begin by re-reading the last sentence of the Gospel…
But of that day or hour, no one knows, not the angels in heaven, nor the Son of man, but only the Father.
Only our Creator, Who called us into being, knows when time will end. Only our Creator has the power to end time and call the Reign of God into its fullness.
So then, why is Jesus encouraging us to look for signs? If no one BUT THE FATHER knows when the end will come, why bother with signs?
Could it be that the signs The Lord is talking about are warnings that we are moving in the wrong direction? Are the signs “caution signs” that we are speeding into darkness and we need to make a fast U-turn?
Think about what has caused so much stress and fear, pain, suffering, and death, over these past months. Consider the signs that we have been passing…noticing some and ignoring others. Mass shootings, increased violence, and hate crimes. WARNING! Darkness ahead!
How can anyone miss that sign?
Pandemic of possible human origin…definitely spread through human carelessness. WARNING! Darkness ahead!
How can anyone deny that sign?
Consequences of changing weather patterns and global warming. WARNING! Darkness ahead!
How can anyone ignore that sign?
Political discord and failure on the part of world leaders to promote the common good. WARNING! Darkness ahead!
How can anyone not see that sign and demand change?
These, as well as other things, have made the past months feel apocalyptic. I’ve heard more than one person suggest that the signs are indicating that “the end” is near. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. I feel confident in suggesting this much: All signs are clear evidence that humankind is on a dangerous path of self-destruction.
Dramatic threats to universal health and well-being call for dramatic change. I would argue that only the Universal Christ has the power to motivate universal change.
And I would further argue that, somehow, Christ will intervene. How and when, I cannot even suggest. But I know this much to be true: Whether The Son of Man will return to conclude what was begun at the dawn of creation and usher in the fullness of The Reign of God…OR…inspire humanity to change direction and bring about healing and peace through our own change of heart. While we wait…we best remember the words frequently spoken by The Lord: BE NOT AFRAID!
As we wait to see how God’s plan unfolds, these Readings should not add to our stress. They are not a threat, but a promise. Take comfort in knowing that God is infinitely faithful in keeping the promises made to us. The promise that these passages bring is simply this…Christ will bring healing and peace.