33rd SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
As the liturgical year ends, the focus of all three readings is the End Times and the Second Coming of Jesus.
FIRST READING: Malachi 3:19-20
Malachi is writing in the fifth century before Christ, to a community with very lax morals. In this reading, Malachi speaks in frightening terms of the imminent “Day of the Lord.” On that day, the proud and evildoers will become stubble to be burned, and the faithful will be vindicated.
SECOND READING: 2Thessalonians 3:7-12
Because of the belief that the Second Coming is imminent, some people quit their jobs and become busybodies. Paul urges them to quietly get back to work. Then he presents himself as a model of hard work.
GOSPEL: Luke 21:5-19
People admiring the beauty of the Temple gives Jesus an opportunity to speak about tough times ahead for believers.
First, he forewarns about the destruction of the Temple by the Romans which is to occur around 80AD, just when Luke is putting his finishing touches to his Gospel.
Then someone asks, “When will these terrible things happen and what will be the sign that these things are about to happen?” In response, Jesus tells them to be on the watch for false prophets who will present themselves as true teachers: “Do not follow them.”
Then Jesus speaks of the time when his disciples will be persecuted and dragged into court because of their belief in him. When this happens, not to worry, he will be with them, empowering them to testify on his behalf. In the end, their faith in Jesus and their perseverance will secure their lives.
If you knew you had six months to live, how would you spend it?