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A New World

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C (13/11/2022)

(Malachi 3:19-20a; Psalm 98:5-6, 7-8, 9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19)

By Fr. Samuel Odeh

Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (Luke 21: 28).  In the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Malachi we are told that a day is coming, “burning like an oven,”  when all those who are arrogant and who do evil will be destroyed in a fire but for those who are God-fearing “the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings”.  This means God will bring the world of sin, of suffering, of injustice and of hatred to an end and replace it with good.  No longer shall we love evil but we shall prefer righteousness.

Our Gospel reading today appears near the end of Jesus’ teaching in Jerusalem just before the events that led to his crucifixion.  One way to understand his warnings and predictions is to see them as a reference to his suffering and death.  For Christians, the new world order of righteousness began at the death and resurrection of Christ.  The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem by the Romans took place about forty years after the death of Christ in 70 AD, just as Jesus foretold: the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down. An important question among the earliest Christians, just as in our time, concerned the second coming of Christ.  They wanted to know when it was going to take place.  In spite of the upcoming natural disasters and upheavals that Jesus mentions such as wars, earthquakes, disease and famines, we are not to conclude that the second coming of Christ has come.  But before all this, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you…  As believers who follow and imitate Christ’s faithfulness to God even while suffering, Christians are told to expect persecution on account of their faith.  We shall be brought before earthly rulers to answer for our faith.  We are to consider this a blessing because this will be a time for you to bear testimony.  Remaining faithful during persecution is a testimony of God’s wisdom and power.  Jesus assures us in today’s Gospel that God is with the believer even in times of trouble.  When a disciple suffers for being a Christian, a new life of grace takes shape in them.

Our second reading warns of a danger facing the Christians of Thessalonica.  Some members of the community there are refusing to work out their salvation with fear and trembling because some preachers are offering them miraculous ways out of every problem.  This is dangerous because we cannot expect God to solve each and every one of our problems with a miracle.  The new world of righteousness that Christ began must be built little by little, with a lot of patience, tolerance, and suffering.  It must begin inside each and every one of us.  Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.  Sacred Heart of Jesus, may thy kingdom come.



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