The 33rd Sunday of the Year
Mal 3:19-20; 2 Thess 3:7-12; Lk 21:5-19 (Year C)
“The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and evil doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, leaving them neither root nor stalk.”
The Old Testament does not understand history as a meaningless cycle in which life and death, joy and sorrow, unfold with neither meaning nor purpose. Time is given meaning and direction as the revelation of God’s saving will. What was begun with the creation of the heavens and the earth reaches forward to its glorious conclusion at the end of time, a New Creation in Christ Jesus.
For sinful humanity that purpose is lived out as the journey from sin to salvation, from darkness to light and from chaos to meaning.
The prophet Malachi reflected the Old Testament understanding that time is inexorably moving towards “the day of the Lord”. This would be a day of judgment, a burning purification in which the Lord would come to rule the earth. On that day evil would be left with neither root nor stalk, but for those who had trusted in the Lord, the sun of righteousness would bring healing and salvation.
Jesus is that sun of righteousness, the healing and repurposing of a broken world. He is the Light that has dawned in our darkness, the Life that has overcome sin’s death to God. Each and every moment of our lives finds meaning and purpose as a journey into Christ, our Light and our Life.
Jesus insisted that he alone was the way to the Father. Superficial distractions, like the magnificence of Jerusalem’s Temple, would pass away. Jesus warned his disciples to spurn the deceitful pride that would claim to speak in his name. The Risen Lord was leading them along a path which, like his own, would experience unrest, rejection and death.
“You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win your lives.”
We whose journey is begun in Christ and leads to the Father must seek to live every moment in the conviction that he lives within us through every trial. He himself becomes our hidden strength, our hidden wisdom.
“I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponent will be able to contradict.”