Fr Albert’s Reflection – 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

The end of the liturgical year reminds us of the approach of the end of time at the second coming of Christ. This must be a central desire to our faith. We profess in the Nicene Creed, “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” After the Consecration, we profess, “Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again.” The Theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin tells us “we must renew in ourselves the desire for the great coming.” Our fear should be of putting false pretences in things that are perishable. The people of Israel put their trust in the beauty of the Temple. They witnessed its destruction at the hands of the Romans in 70AD. Luke, writing his Gospel just after this event happened (around the year 80AD), wanted to tell Christians that the destruction of the Temple did not signal the end of the world. He cautioned the people not to listen to anyone who claimed to know the time of God’s visitation. Since Luke’s time, many people have claimed to know when the end of the world will come. Some claim a special revelation from God or Mary, and others claim to have calculated it from the Bible. All such claims should be ignored. We should not allow ourselves to be misled by claims or speculations that the end is near but must maintain a constant watchfulness. Before God’s final advent, there is life to be lived and struggles to be endured. Luke’s Gospel offers hope and encouragement in the face of conflict, persecution and family division. Jesus himself was about to experience a violent rejection by his own people and he prepared his disciples for the persecutions that they were to experience as they brought His message to the world. As disciples of Jesus, we trust in God’s mercy and protection, even when we are facing difficulties. Luke presents persecution as an opportunity for the followers of Jesus for “It will lead to your giving testimony” (Luke 21:13). In persecution, God’s wisdom and power will prevail. Perseverance in the face of persecution will lead to our salvation.