Sunday Readings in brief 33 C
Mal 3:19-20; Ps 97(98); 2 Thess 3:7-12; Lk 21:5-19
When that day comes
Dear friends, today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C. Next Sunday will be the feast of Christ the King and the end of the liturgical years C. During this season, we learn a lot about the kingdom of God and what is required of us in order to enter it. Towards the end of the season, the readings focus on the end of times and that day when we will all be required to give an account of our lives as baptized Christians.
In the first reading describes that day as a burning furnace that will consume the arrogant who will be like firewood. However, for the righteous who will have kept the faith and the fear of the name of the Lord, that day for them will bring healing and restoration. As St. Augustin of Hippo reminds us, God created us without us but he will not save us without us. Our attitude towards the kingdom of God preached to us by Christ will determine whether we will rejoice or weep when that day comes. The time to prepare is here and now.
During the time of St. Paul, many false prophets emerged and started preaching about the end of time. They went around Thessalonica instilling fear in people and demanding sustenance from them. St. Paul is distancing himself from such people and stating that no one should be given food without work.
Today, many have turned to preach as a source of easy income that is not even taxed. Many have taken the advantage of the freedom of worship and the democratic space for religious activities without interference from the state. Instead of teaching people the values that will improve their lives on earth and help them attain the kingdom of God, many have turned worshippers into customers. Instead of Catechesis on positive transformation of individuals and society at large to foster, peace, love, and justice, many have resulted into merchants of miracles and fortune. The Gospel of repentance of responsibility is out of fashion.
Sunday preachers, occasional healers, and visiting miracle workers have replaced continuous catechesis with Christian basic values of honesty, humility, love, non-violence, etc. Idleness has invaded many religious people who instead of working in the vineyard entrusted to them are waiting in worship places for the people to work and bring them their upkeep while interfering with everyone else’s business. St. Paul says that this is unacceptable and anyone who does not work should not also eat.
Jesus warns us not to be deceived or frightened by such false prophets who even at times claim to be him. The way they instill fear in people, one would think that they would be themselves seated at the judge’s seat on that day. Surprisingly many rich and powerful people who are afraid or unprepared to die as well as poor people who are afraid of work, are turning to them and offering huge offerings seeking divine protection. They are repeatedly being swindled of their money and death has never had a cure or vaccine.
Salvation is not waiting for us at the end of the road so we can buy it when we arrive. Salvation is a process that begins with baptism and ends with Judgement. How we live our lives in between is the evidence that will determine our fate when that day comes. The only question that should bother us every day is whether when that day comes we will have our accounts balanced to render them to the just Judge.
Dear friends, as we conclude this liturgical year, I invite us to look back and see what improvement we have made in our lives through the help of scriptural lessons throughout the year. Let us also prepare to start the coming liturgical year A with the resolve to be better learners.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD