33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time — Cycle B — 2009 Daniel 12:1-3
In those days, I, Daniel, heard this word of the Lord: “At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince, guardian of your people; it shall be a time unsurpassed in distress since nations began until that time. At that time your people shall escape, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace. But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Brothers and sisters: Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God; now he waits until his enemies are made his footstool. For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated. Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
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 then 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.”
Every year in November we celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day at the beginning of the month. In the middle of the month, the Sunday readings turn our attention to the end of the world. We are invited to reflect on what happens when the world ends.
Do I expect the world to end in my life time? No, I really don’t. Could it end in my life time? For sure. Do I worry about the world ending? Not at all. Then what is the point of today’s readings? The readings invite us to live in Christ now because the way we live is generally the way that we shall die. If the world were to end tomorrow, the question is how I am living today.
Jesus tells us in the Gospel that only the Father knows the day and the hour. Throughout the centuries so many people have predicted so many times that the world would end on a particular date—and the world continues on. We need not waste our time trying to figure out the date. Rather we need to spend our time seeking to be faithful to the teachings of the Lord each day.
The second readings today, from the Letter to the Hebrews, tells us that it is Jesus who saves us with the forgiveness of our sins and who invites us to share in His life. We cannot save ourselves, no matter how strongly we try to do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, we find ourselves unfaithful to Him. Only He Himself can give us the inner transformation to be faithful.
We are coming to the end of the Church year and so we reflect on the end of the world and on the end of our own life. Leading a Christian life is not about doing better and better in our daily lives but about loving more and more and allowing ourselves to be transformed by the love that God showers upon us.
There is so much to be thankful for in this great mystery of salvation. It is all God’s initiative, even when we are invited to respond. God continually reaches out to us, over and over in history—in the history of our world and in our individual history. Now is the time of salvation. Now is the time when we can respond to Him. Let us go to the house of the Lord and rejoice in His presence.