Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 14, Luke 21: 5-19
Today is the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time and the last Sunday of Ordinary Time for another Liturgical Year. Next Sunday we will celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ King, and the following Sunday, Nov. 28, will be the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new Liturgical Year. We are marching right along.
Today’s Gospel selection is part of the apocalyptic imagery of Luke’s Gospel. The word apocalypse means revelation and ordinarily it deals with the so-called “end times.” Apocalyptic literature attempts to interpret the end of the world times, the end of the human story. It speaks to us of various signs, natural disasters, wars and persecutions, and urges us to persevere as followers of Christ, no matter what comes. The purpose of apocalyptic literature is really to let us know that good will overcome evil. Jesus tells us in the closing words of today’s Gospel that not one hair on our heads will be destroyed. Jesus is in charge and we turn to him.
Many people down through the ages have tried to identify the exact time of all this is going to happen, but to no avail. Rarely has there ever been a time in the history of the earth when there have not been natural disasters, wars, insurrections, and persecutions of one sort or another. Rather than sit around looking for all of these things to happen, the message tells us to direct our efforts toward persevering in following the Lord.
One of the ways to persevere, to hang in there no matter what, is to keep a positive attitude about things. It is so easy to fall into self-pity and that is 100% useless and negative and always produces negative consequences of one sort or another. One of AA’s endless cliches goes: Poor me, poor me, poor (pour) me another drink. We always remember how to spell relief: b-o-o-z-e.
The remedy for self-pity is three little words: THANK YOU, GOD. Instead of moaning or groaning over the illness we have or the crisis we find ourselves in, we thank God for it and for all the blessings he has given to us. Our various trials and tribulations, whatever they might be, are really blessings from God and can be very positive in that they always show us our need for God’s help. I try to remember every day to thank God for the gift of the disease of alcoholism in my life because all that I am and all that I hope to become is a result of the recovery from that disease.
As Paul reminds us rather often in his letters: It is in our weaknesses that we find our strength. And that is indeed good.
Monday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Nov. 15, Luke 18: 35-43
“Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
The blind man coming to Jesus for help in today’s Gospel reinforces what we said in yesterday’s homily. This man needed help, boy, did he need help. And he knew well that he himself was powerless over his problem of blindness. So he went to Jesus. He didn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself. He went positively to the Lord who could help him and asked for that help. He had faith in Jesus and acted, and faith in action is a very positive thing. We believe, we trust, that God can and will help us.
Once again today let us ask Jesus to increase our faith, to be able to surrender to his will, to put him in control. Nothing is more positive and nothing will bring greater and happier results.
Tuesday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Nov. 16, Luke 19: 1-10
Not too awfully long ago we commented on this same Gospel passage of Zacchaeus climbing a tree in order to better see Jesus. We mentioned then that Zacchaeus was the head tax collector and most probably not a young man anymore, maybe at least middle-aged. So we have a short, middle-aged man climbing up a tree to see what he wanted to see. As we remarked then, it must have been quite a comical sight! But it only goes to show that where there is a will there is a way.
What am I willing to do today to better see Jesus? Am I even ready to do something foolish if it will produce the required result? Just how badly do I want to see and understand the ways of Jesus?
Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Nov. 17, Luke 19: 11-28
I believe we are all pretty well acquainted with our Gospel selection for today’s Liturgy. A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then return. Before he left on his journey, he called 10 servants and gave each of them 10 gold coins to take and invest while he was gone. When he returned as king, he called the servants to see how they had made out with their investments and what his profit would be. The first two servants reported to him that they had doubled what he had given to them. But the third reported that he had hid his gold coins and had produced nothing. He did not fare so well.
I look at this parable and the gold coins as God’s gifts and talents given to all of us. We are expected to invest them by helping and serving others with them as we have noted many times before. I believe Jesus has given each of us 10 gold coins, at least 10 gifts and talents to use for helping others and for the promotion of his Kingdom on earth. What are they? Do we know them?
And when I finish answering these questions I ask myself what I have done with them, how well have I used them? Have I hidden any of the coins that Jesus gave to me? If so, let’s make it point today to resurrect them and begin using them as God wants me to do.
Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Nov. 18, Luke 19: 41-44
“They will smash you to the ground and your children within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
The word “visitation” used in the above quote means that we failed to recognize the coming of Jesus among his people. In other words, Jesus came for our benefit, for our redemption, and we missed his coming or pay it little or no attention. As they say, we missed a golden opportunity.
Can we recall some very special visitation or coming of Jesus into our lives that really helped us grow spiritually? Did I take advantage of this opportunity by reacting positively as Jesus would have me do? In my own life, I think of my alcoholism. There was a time when I looked at this as a very negative thing, but finally came to realize that it was an opportunity from God to grow spiritually. It was my greatest help in turning from the spiritual bankruptcy I found myself in when I first entered the treatment center and passing to a state of spiritual well-being.
Thank God I was willing to let God help me out of my problem and be able to grow significantly in his grace. How about you?
Friday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Nov. 19, Luke 19: 45-48
The temple in Jesus’ time was made up of four areas or courts: one for the priests, one for men, one for women, and one for the Gentiles. The Court of the Gentiles was surrounded by the Royal Portico and this was where all the business transactions of the temple were conducted. It was built for this purpose. Here the people could change pagan money to Jewish coins, they could purchase incense, oil, animals, grain and anything else needed for the various sacrifices. But things seem to have gotten a bit out of hand. The business men were exploiting those who came to the temple to make a greater profit. Jesus, in today’s Gospel, put an end to this to bring back the atmosphere of prayer to the temple.
In light of this Gospel, maybe I can ask myself today what I can do to enhance my own prayer time a bit. Maybe a visit to the parish church every now and then to pray, lighting a candle for an ambiance of prayer — or whatever. Just a little change of some sort can often make a lot of difference.
Saturday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Nov. 20, Luke 20: 27-40
How strong is my belief in the resurrection from the dead to new life, eternal life? That is the question proposed by the Gospel reading for today. We just covered all of this a week ago on Sunday of the Thirty-Second Week of Ordinary Time, Nov. 7, and then again on Monday, Nov. 8. Our Webmaster usually leaves the homilies on the web site from the week before.* So I would suggest a review of the homilies for these two days last week rather than sit here and repeat the whole thing a week later. Have a great week!