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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners,  Today’s gospel is a bit scary. Jesus tells us, “In those days after the tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken…” When we hear of these sorts of things, what immediately comes to mind is the end of the world. The end of the world, as we would imagine it, would be the destruction of the physical world, the world in which we live. Also, Jesus tells us that “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.” What does Jesus mean here in saying these? How can this be Good News for us, in this present age?  The Good News here is that we “will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky… When you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.” But, haven’t we waited for so long? Everything that’s going on in the world – natural calamities, wars, destruction, etc. – seem to put us into despair. What makes us get out of this bubble of despair and fear of all that is to happen is this hope that Christ gives us which makes us move forward and advance in life, and look forward for Christ’s second coming: “And you will see the Son of Man…” When one loves, he/she longs to be united with the person loved. As Christians, we are to have this longing for Christ, to be with Him for all eternity, out of love for him. The Word of God does not cease in reminding us of this. At the very end of the Book of Revelation, we hear these words of hope: “Come, Lord Jesus!”  For now, God makes himself present among us. Jesus who is Emmanuel – God with us – makes himself so close to us, his faithful people, through the Eucharist. The Eucharist is food for our faith, hope and charity. Receiving this holy sacrament increases in us this desire to see God face to face.  With the entire Church, the Bride of the Lamb, as we approach the end of the liturgical year and the beginning of a new one as we enter the season of Advent, let our hearts cry out with joyful waiting as we say, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!” Let us put away the fear in our hearts and let it be filled with love that comes from God: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) Br John Van

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Dear Parishioners, The widow in the gospel gives “all she had to live on”.  In other words (and closer to the original Greek) she gave “all her living”.  This sacrifice deeply affects Jesus and he makes sure that his disciples understand the lesson.   What is the lesson?  Give your all to God, everything counts. Jesus looks at the intention in which we give.  It is the quality of the offering that counts and not the quantity. The more that our actions are done in a spirit of sacrifice and love, the more they count in God’s eyes.   In the end there is only one thing that can unify all our actions: to do them for love of God.  This comes back to last week’s gospel and the greatest commandment: “To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength”.  God’s love is strong, infinitely great and He asks the same in return!  Now let us come back to the widow in today’s gospel.  Wasn’t this widow reckless? — Couldn’t we say that she was imprudent and that it was irresponsible to give up her last two coins, “all her living”?  Yes and no.  Christ sees a sort of divine recklessness – the faith of a woman who knew that “with God all things are possible.”  In reality, a sacrifice done with love is the most ‘prudent’ and ‘responsible’ action that we can take.  The Creator of the Universe and the Savior of mankind, can he not take care of those who love and sacrifice with this reckless generosity? How then to balance the ‘responsibility’ and the ‘recklessness’ of Christian discipleship?  There are no set formulas.  This is the risk and the adventure that we are all to discover!  As our trust and surrender to Jesus increases, our desire to give all to God will become more frequent and deeper.  This desire will lead to actions.  The saints lived this ‘recklessness’ day after day and this is our goal.  Surrender your life as fully as you can today (and the next day and so on…) and make a concrete decision to act in a divinely reckless way; to make a sacrifice out of love for God, with all that you have. Father Philip