33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 15th November, 2015

We Live in the Shadow of Eternity

The readings today are not for the faint-hearted. Both the first reading and the gospel refer to a time of great distress ... an end time. They predict that after earth-shaking developments a new age will dawn. Such language is sometimes called apocalyptic, meaning that it reveals the future.

However, it would be a mistake if we were to take these passages and try to read from them messages about specific events in our own day. This is dangerous and has misled many. Rather, here we have a message for every people in every land in every age. The message is that no matter how frightening the disaster around us, God in Christ is our Saviour.

We all have experienced times when our personal worlds seemed to be falling apart and crashing all around us. We may have found ourselves beset not by one stroke of misfortune but by a legion of problems at the same time. In such situations today's psalm can keep us steady by reminding us to have hope in God. “With God at our right hand we shall stand firm”. We must have confidence that God will guide us through these misfortunes to the fullness of life.

It is amazing how the worst of times in human terms can in fact be the best of times for our relationship with God. It is sometimes in misfortune that we experience the Lord entering our lives with great power. Now is the God-given opportunity to grow in his love and in the service of the neighbour. It is unique and irreplaceable time and will never come again.

We are like workers who do not know when the master will come. We must live in such a way that it does not matter when he comes. Day by day, our work must be completed. We are called to try to live every day in a way that will be pleasing to him. We must be ready, at any moment, to meet him face to face. All our life is a preparation to meet our God.

Nothing on earth is permanent. Empires may rise, evil people may have their sway for a time, but there will come a time when they are gone. What endures is the love of God.

We experience it now in grace, the mystery of God’s presence and power in the hearts of people who know him and love him. One day, through Christ we shall be taken into that love in all its fullness. This is a message of hope, indeed, of confidence. We look on the face of Christ and we find the antidote to our fears.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.