Theme: THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST
- Daniel 12:1-3;
- Psalm 15 (16): 5. 8-11. R/ v. 1;
- Hebrews 10:11-14. 18
- Mark 13:24-32
Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical year B. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical year. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year the readings today tell us about the end of the world, that is, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ will come a second time when he will win over all!
The gospel today tells us of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that he will come in the clouds with power and glory and his angels will gather all his chosen ones and bring them to heaven! Thus we read in the gospel:
“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven”. (Mk 13: 26-27; SM)
The gospel also tells us that we do not know when Jesus Christ will come a second time, not even the angels, not even Jesus Christ himself! Only God the Father knows when Jesus Christ will come a second time! Thus the gospel ends by telling us:
“But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.” (Mk 13:32; SM)
That is why the Gospel Acclamation today tells us to be always prepared for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
“Stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.” (Mt 24:42. 44; SM)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading also tells us about the end of the world. The first reading tells us that at the end of the world the dead will rise to life! The virtuous will rise to everlasting life, but the wicked to everlasting damnation. The wise who instructed many in righteousness will shine like the vault of heaven and like the stars of heaven! (HCSB) Thus we read in the first reading:
“Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace. The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.” (Dn 12:2-3; SM)
It is significant that the resurrection of the dead is mentioned for the first time in the Old Testament! (NJBC; CCB)
The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust God, because he is the only one who can save us from death and give us life and happiness! (CSB)
The response and the first verse of the responsorial psalm tell us to trust in God. Thus we pray with the psalmist:
“Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; it is you yourself who are my prize.” (Ps 15 (16): 1 and 5; SM)
Verses 10 and 11 tell us that God is the only one who can save us from death and give us life and happiness. Thus we pray with the psalmist:
“For you will not leave my soul among the dead, nor let your beloved know decay. You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, at your right hand happiness for ever.” (SM)
The second reading is a continuation and a conclusion of the second readings of the past few Sundays. Again, the second reading compares the Levitical priesthood of the Jews of the Old Testament with the priesthood of Jesus Christ in the New Testament:
(i) The Levitical priests offer sacrifices everyday, but their sacrifices cannot take away sins.
(ii) Jesus Christ offered himself once and for all and has taken away all our sins and made us holy.
(iii) We do not need the sacrifices of the Levitical priests anymore. We already have the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We only need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Thus we read in the second reading today:
“All priests stand at their duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking sins away. Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins. .… By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom he is sanctifying. When all sins have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.” (Heb 10: 11-12a. 14. 18; SM)
Today in the Mass, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church makes present, real and effective, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our salvation; and today in the Mass, we receive the Holy Spirit, to help us prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! A happy and holy Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.