33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, November 13

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

In every one of the three synoptic gospels we find a chapter just before the passion story that recounts Jesus giving a long sermon in Jerusalem. Luke places Jesus in the Temple precincts itself to deliver his message. And it’s a strange message indeed, at least to our modern ears—filled with provocative predictions about the future, with foreboding and catastrophic events that serve as warnings of even greater turmoil to come.
Every year the Church lectionary ends the annual liturgical cycle with such a message and continues the message through the beginning of Advent in early December, before yielding to the readings that prepare for the Christmas celebration. Every homilist bears the burden of making these strange sounding passages relevant to modern experience, a burden that everyone bears who wants to enter into the spirit of the readings. Despite the challenge, we all should recognize the important faith-filled proclamation that these readings actually represent.

Our first reading from the prophet Malachi serves as the first introduction of this theme of courageous witness to the faith in time of persecution and distress. Note the high level of emotion that Malachi injects into his account, a feature so ingrained in the Scripture readings of coming weeks.On an entirely different track, our second reading is another instance of St Paul’s message of encouragement and admonition. He points to his own behavior as a model to follow and scolds those who are disruptive in the community.
—Walter Modrys SJ

This week’s readings can be found on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ website.

The New York Times article that Fr. Modrys references, Apocalypse, Now What? by Matthew Thompson, can be found here at nytimes.com.