A Reflection for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
With the readings of today, we ask ourselves, am I ready?
This Sunday, the readings are quite alarming or shall we say scary. It foretells the end of the world or the end of time. It is a revelation of the future judgment. According to the first reading, “the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all the evildoers will stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch.” Even though this is the case, it is not yet the end for we can still change our ways. We can still straighten our crooked ways. We can do good things still for our brothers and sisters. But this warning tells something about the reality of our times.
Observing what is happening now, this warning is very true. There are those who claims to be the “true church” that whoever belongs to it will be saved. But our Lord Jesus reminds us, “Do not follow them!” “Nation will rise against nation.” South Korea and North Korea are fighting, Syria and Iraq fire missiles against each other. And now, China and Philippines are in tension because of the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea islands. There was an earthquake in Bohol, infrastructures were destroyed; typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban killed not only thousands of humans but also the livelihood of the people; El Niño that destroyed hectares of rice and corns. Look! Dear brothers and sisters, the readings are now realized. But do not worry my dear friends, for Christ said, “It will not be immediately be the end.” Before the end of the world, before this happens, He said, they will seize and persecute you!” And they will lead and force you to give up your testimony of your own faith.
Nowadays, there are many new discoveries of science and technology. With these new information related to us, it seems that the terrifying concept of “the end of the world” has left the human consciousness. Is this true my friends? Isn’t it? And if we know how to correct injustices and promote justice; to alleviate the poverty of the poor ones and all the root cause of revolution and war; and if we do care for the earth and others, doing like these things will make us build a beautiful community – a community of peace. Certainly these things will make God happy and will give praise to our Lord Jesus Christ – a God who is the source and the cause of everything.
If we do like this, little by little we can eradicate evil in this world. This is affirmed by the first reading of today: “The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and evil-doers will be like stubble… But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays” (Mal 3:19-20). These words are very consistent with the symbol of fire associated with the ‘last judgement’ in the Gospels (Mt 25:41) that fire symbolizes the purification of the people. The reign of the devil continuously perpetuates in this world because of our actions that leads us to sin. And if every one of us strives not sin because of his/her personal experience of God incarnated in Christ will also remove the reign of evil and evilness of the devil. So be not afraid!
But when will this ‘end of time’ come? Our Lord Jesus Christ did not give a specific time because God is eternal. And if say eternal, we do not compute it, for eternal does not have beginning or end.
We cannot also just wait for the end of time. That’s why we cannot also stop working waiting for the Lord like what the people of Thessalonica did. They stopped working waiting for the ‘end of the world’! This is not the right thing to do. St. Peter reminded the Thessalonian that “those who do work will not have something to eat”. “In the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat” (2The 3:12).
The readings of this Sunday remind us to be faithful and sincere to the invitation of the Gospel as an individual and as a community. We are not just responsible for our own selves but rather to the whole Christian community.
(Alvin Clesther Yarcia)