33rd Sunday (B)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

We are Living between the first and Second Coming of Jesus, we cannot but be aware that there is a great battle going on, a battle between good and evil, which seems to be intensifying. On one side we see it especially in the destruction of family life, the priesthood and the lack of respect for life. While on the other hand, we also see the good that people do, the rise of prayer groups, people going on pilgrimage and an eagerness to encounter and experience God in their lives. The battle between good and evil will be finally over when Jesus comes again. Then evil will be conquered forever and good will be victorious.

The radical intervention of God to destroy the ultimate power of evil in the end-time is the theme of today’s Gospel reading (Mk 13:24-32). While the end-time description, with its dark imagery of trials, tribulations, and turmoil is scary, there is also the note of consolation, which takes form in the glorious figure of the Son of Man, Jesus, coming in the clouds to gather his faithful and chosen ones from the four winds of the earth. The heart of this powerful apocalyptic device is the belief that God would one day intervene in a cataclysmic way to destroy evil and restore the fullness of life and abounding peace. Ultimately, the specter of doom gives way to the hope of a new creation, where the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its light, and the stars will fall before the splendor of the Son of Man.

Jesus reiterates the power and the efficacy of His words in the life of every disciple, who listens and translates them into his life. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “The word of God is active and alive, cuts more finely than any two edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow. It can read our secret thoughts and emotions.” (Heb.4, 12)
We are fortunate to have received the words of life. The word of God should continuously inspire and guide us in all our actions. Where do we stand? Am I open to listen what God is speaking to me? What is the impact of the words of Jesus in my life and activities? Do they guide me? Am I a living gospel? Perhaps seldom in the history of the Church has the message of this Word of God been as relevant as it is at the present time. Precisely because we feel secure in this world that we have built, because we have never enjoyed so much comfort and convenience, such economic and social progress, so much peace and civil liberty, we have relegated God to the last place. We believers know well that our world without God, our house without a Father, is steadily becoming a less human place and a home without brothers. We have exiled the Father, our brother has become our enemy, our neighbor has become a stranger. Our suffering has no value in a world without God, and a society that has no God and no future.

Living now in the time between the first and Second Coming of Jesus each of us has the capacity – a second chance – to quicken the triumph of good over evil by living more as Jesus asks or perhaps we could say to allow Jesus to have more control over our lives. This is to have the primacy of the spiritual and supernatural as a priority in us. We allow Jesus to have more room in our lives by spending time with him in prayer, by attending Mass every Sunday and as often as possible during the week, by receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, once a month or if possible more frequently, by praying the Rosary, by praying together as a family and also through acts of charity. We allow Jesus more room in our lives and more control over our lives when we live the way he asks us to live, when we are morally upright. When we allow Jesus to be the focus of our lives we are tipping the balance in the battle between good and evil a bit more towards the eventual victory of good over evil.

Today our life is preoccupied with so many things and it is easy to forget about the second coming of Christ. We prefer to ignore our mortality and put off our preparation for the death, which we all must face. How do we prepare ourselves? How do we get ready? How will we be sure that the Lord recognizes us? What are the right choices to make during our day? The end of chapter 25 reads:

“Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Although we do not know the day or the hour of the second coming of Christ, we do not know the day or the hour of our own deaths, we have been told what staying awake entails. It will be unfortunate if we have to hear from the Lord: “Amen, I say to you, I do not know you, it will be because of our foolishness and not because of a lack of mercy or justice on the part of the Lord.

What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and in the process loses his own soul? This is the message we have to proclaim by our hope-filled lives and by our active opposition to evil that destroys the human beings. We believe that God still has a place in today’s world and a role to play. To make our witness credible we must be Christians with greater commitment, optimism and hope, with no discouragement or pessimism, as we face up to the task of proclaiming to our world that a world without God will surely end.