Theme: IN THE END SIN AND DEATH WILL BE DESTROYED, AND LIFE AND JOY WILL BE RESTORED
- Daniel 12:1-3;
- Psalm 15 (16):5. 8-11. R. v. 1;
- Hebrews 10:11-14. 18
- Luke 21:36
- Mark 13:24-32
1. Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year B. As we come to the end of the Liturgical Year, the readings today tell us about the end times, the end of the world, the second coming of Jesus Christ! The readings today tell us that at the end of time sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored!
The gospel today tells us about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that at the end of time Jesus Christ will come a second time in glory. He will gather his chosen ones. The gospel tells us that we do not know when is his second coming, but we do know that he will come. And when he comes, sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored! Thus we read in the gospel today:
“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)
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mk 13:31)
“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)
Today sin and death seem to overwhelm us. We have wars around the world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, we have the destruction of the environment, climate change, global warming, etc., and we have abortion.
In the year 2003 there were 41.6 million abortions worldwide (Catholic World News, October 15, 2009; Time, October 26, 2009). The mother’s womb is the most dangerous place in the world, more dangerous than Iraq and Afghanistan! The worldwide annual death toll from abortion is more than that of all the wars put together!
But the gospel (good news) today tells us that in the end sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy will be restored!
2. The second reading follows the theme of the gospel. The second reading tells us that in the end, sin will be destroyed. The second reading tells us that the daily sacrifices of the Levitical priest cannot take away sins, but the sacrifice of Jesus can take away sins once and for all!
The second reading also tells us that today Jesus continues to forgive our sins until the end of time when all sins will be forgiven. When we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, Jesus continues to forgive our sins, until the end of time when all sins will be forgiven! Thus we read in the second reading:
“Christ, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his place for ever, at the right hand of God, where he is now waiting until his enemies are made into a footstool for him.” (Heb 10:12-13)
3. The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that in the end death will be destroyed. The first reading tells us that the dead will rise from the dead and they will shine like the stars in the heavens! This is the first time that resurrection and everlasting life are clearly mentioned in the Bible! Thus we read in the first reading:
“Of those who lie asleep 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)
4. The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. The responsorial psalm tells us to trust in God because God will raise us from the dead and give us life, joy and happiness! (HCSB/NJBC) Thus the response of the responsorial psalm:
“Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.” (Ps 15 (16): 1)
The responsorial psalm has three stanzas. The first stanza tells us to trust in God. The second stanza tells us that God will raise us from the dead. The third stanza tells us that God will give us life, joy and happiness! Thus the second and third stanzas:
“And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my body shall rest in safety. 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.” (Ps 15 (16): 9-11)
5. Finally, the “Gospel Acclamation” of today’s Mass tells us to stay awake, to keep vigil, and to pray always to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ! Thus the “Gospel Acclamation”: “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:36)
6. Today in the Eucharist, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and we eat his body and drink his blood, and the Risen Lord will give us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will help us believe and hope that at the end sin and death will be destroyed and life and joy and happiness will be restored. The Holy Spirit will help us to stay awake and to keep vigil and to pray always to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Amen!