November 17, 2013 (Jerusalem Bible Translation)
We are now deep in the setting sun of the liturgical year. We’re only one week away from the celebration of Christ the King, the official end of the liturgical year, and the tone of the readings shows that we are preparing for this Solemnity and for the season of Advent.
This first reading from the Prophet Malachi features an upset people of God. The people of Judah returned from the Babylonian exile, and they were noticing that they didn’t seem to have any benefits over the pagans. The prophet reminds the people of God that His justice will come upon everyone one day. This justice will not only overcome all evil, but it will also make all things right.
PS 98:5-6, 7-8, 9
R. (cf. 9) The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.
2 THES 3:7-12
In this week’s second reading, we return to St Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. Even though St Paul spoke to the young Church about the imminent coming of Jesus, he never instructed them to be irresponsible and stop their current work. His consistent example of his service as an Apostle was also a strong reminder that he knew the need to continue working and preaching the Gospel. We see that this is somewhat of a repetition and extension of what we read from the same letter two weeks ago, but this issue was an important one that he understood needed some special attention in this church. In our contemporary Church, we seem to have the opposite problem, where many have stopped waiting for His return.
This week’s Gospel from St Luke brings us closer to to the end of this book. This reading is full of sayings straight from Jesus that can make us uncomfortable or even bring fear into our hearts if not understood with the whole message. At this time, the earliest followers of Jesus were already encountering persecution from the surrounding community. Living in communities faithful to the Jewish lifestyle, Jesus challenged many of the ways they once believed to be right, and change usually makes people uncomfortable.
With all of the sudden persecution and troubles, there was a lot of speculation about the end of the world. In a shocking move, Jesus doesn’t take this time to console His disciples, He reveals to them that this is only the beginning. The end will not come until His followers will witness many wars, devastation, and even greater persecution. Our own families and friends may abandon us and even persecute us unto death.
After a few very difficult lines, Jesus concludes this with hope: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
Even if following Jesus will eventually cost us everything, He is worth it.
Question for further reflection
Is there a part of your life where you have given up on allowing God to work? How can we live out our trust in Jesus better?
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