33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
November 13, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.










Grant us, we pray, O Lord our God,
the constant gladness of being devoted to you,
for it is full and lasting happiness
to serve with constancy
the author of all that is good.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Mal 3:19-20a

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
   when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
   and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
   leaving them neither root nor branch,
   says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
   the sun of justice with its healing rays. 

Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9

℟. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.


Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
   with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
   sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea and what fills it resound,
   the world and those who dwell in it;
let the rivers clap their hands,
   the mountains shout with them for joy.

Before the LORD, for he comes,
   for he comes to rule the earth,
He will rule the world with justice
   and the peoples with equity.

Second Reading 2 Thes 3:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
   nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day
   we worked, so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
   so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you,
   we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work,
   neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way,
   by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.
Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly
   and to eat their own food.

Acclamation before the Gospel Lk 21:28


Gospel Lk 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
   how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here—
   the days will come when there will not be left
   a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
   “Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“"See that you not be deceived,
   for many will come in my name, saying,
   ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
   do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
   but it will not immediately be the end."”
Then he said to them,
   “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
   from place to place;
   and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
   they will seize and persecute you,
   they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons,
   and they will have you led before kings and governors
   because of my name.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
   for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
   that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
   and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
   but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

Reflection Questions

For which "signs of the times" are you especially alert?

Who are today's false Messiahs?

How do you experience persecution for your beliefs?

Catena Nova

I wish you to be without anxiety. One who is without anxiety waits without fear until his Lord comes. For what sort of love of Christ is it to fear His Coming? Brothers and sisters, do we not have to blush for shame? We love Him, yet we fear His Coming? Are we really certain that we love Him? Or do we love our sins more? Therefore, let us hate our sins and love Him, Who will exact punishment for them. He will come whether we wish it or not. Do not think that because He is not coming just now, He will not come at all. He will come, you know not when and provided He finds you prepared, your ignorance of the time of His Coming, will not be held against you. (St. Augustine of Hippo) 

The waters have risen and severe storms are upon us, but we do not fear drowning, for we stand firmly upon a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot break the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the boat of Jesus. What are we to fear? Death? Life to me means Christ, and death is gain. Exile? The earth and its fullness belong to the Lord. The confiscation of goods? We brought nothing into this world, and we shall surely take nothing from it. I have only contempt for the world’s threats, I find its blessings laughable. I have no fear of poverty, no desire for wealth. I am not afraid of death nor do I long to live, except for your good. I concentrate therefore on the present situation, and I urge you, my friends, to have confidence. (St. John Chrysostom)

Trials are of two kinds. Either affliction will test our souls as gold is tried in a furnace, and make trial of us through patience, or the very prosperity of our lives will oftentimes, for many, be itself an occasion of trial and temptation. For it is equally difficult to keep the soul upright and undefeated in the midst of afflictions, as to keep oneself from insolence and pride in prosperity. (St. Basil the Great)

By patient endurance you will win life for yourselves, although to this must be added wholehearted thanksgiving, and prayer, and humility. For you must be ready to bless and praise your benefactor, God the Saviour of the world, who disposes all things, good or otherwise, for your benefit. The Apostle writes: With patient endurance we run the race of faith set before us. For what has more power than virtue? What more firmness or strength than patient endurance? Endurance, that is, for God’s sake. This is the queen of virtues, the foundation of virtue, a haven of tranquillity. It is peace in time of war, calm in rough waters, safety amidst treachery and danger. It makes those who practise it stronger than steel. No weapons or brandished bows, no turbulent troops and advancing siege engines, no flying spears or arrows can shake it. Not even the host of evil spirits, nor the dark array of hostile powers, nor the devil himself standing by with all his armies and devices will have power to injure the man or woman who has acquired this virtue through Christ. (St. Nilus of Sinai)

One day, the gospels tell us, the tension gradually accumulating between humanity and God will reach a kind of limit set when the world was created. The end will come. The presence of Christ will suddenly be revealed like a flash of lightening, shining from pole to pole, smashing through all the barriers which hid this presence or kept it confined. It will invade the earth. The attractive power of the Son of Man will lay hold of everything and unite it in his Body. The Gospel warns us it is vain to speculate about the hour and the modalities of this formidable event. But it equally warns, it calls, us to expect it! Maybe expectation is the supreme Christian characteristic, and the one most distinctive of our faith. It is an historical fact that expectation has never ceased to guide the living expansion of our faith; it is like a torch raised on high…. The Messiah appeared for a moment in our midst, but allowed himself to be seen and touched only briefly before vanishing again, more luminous and ineffable than ever, into the depths of the future. He came, yet only to call us to expect him! The flame of expectation must be revived at all costs. At all costs we must renew ourselves in longing and hoping for the Great Coming. But that can’t happen unless the expectation is incarnate! What body is to be given to our expectation today? It has to be a fully and completely human hope! Look at the earth around us. Our race is visibly passing through a crisis of growth. All are becoming dimly aware of our world’s short-comings as well as its capacities. We have a sense of premonition as well as of expectation. Those who follow Christ mustn’t hesitate to harness this historical force. It needs us and we need it. Under pain of allowing this moment and its force to be lost, and perishing ourselves, we have to share the aspirations which make people today feel so strongly about the greatness of the human task, of our mind’s task in the immensity of our world. …We mustn’t squander the energies we ought to devote to God’s plan. The more our race develops and grows, the better we can care for our world and all its beauty and variety, the more conscious we can become of our own and our world's potential to serve and love and adore God. With us and through us a body worthy of resurrection is being prepared for the coming of Christ. (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)

It helps, now and then, to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the Church's mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything. This is what we are about: we plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities. We cannot do everything and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God's grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own. (St. Oscar Romero)

We must not follow the alarmists who fuel fear of others and of the future, for fear paralyzes the heart and mind. Yet how often do we let ourselves be seduced by a frantic desire to know everything right now, by the itch of curiosity, by the latest sensational or scandalous news, by lurid stories, by the screaming of those who shout loudest and angriest, by those who tell us it is “now or never”. This haste, this everything right now, does not come from God. If we get worked up about the right now, we forget what remains forever: we follow the passing clouds and lose sight of the sky. Drawn by the latest outcry, we no longer find time for God or for our brother and sister living next door. How true this is today! In the frenzy of running, of achieving everything right now, anyone left behind is viewed as a nuisance. And considered disposable. How many elderly, unborn, disabled and poor persons are considered useless. We go our way in haste, without worrying that gaps are increasing, that the greed of a few is adding to the poverty of many others. As an antidote to haste, Jesus today proposes to each of us perseverance. “By your endurance you will gain your lives” (v. 19). Perseverance entails moving forward each day with our eyes fixed on what does not pass away: the Lord and our neighbour. This is why perseverance is the gift of God that preserves all his other gifts (cf. St. Augustine;, De Dono Perseverantiae, 2.4). Let us ask that each of us, and all of us as Church, may persevere in the good and not lose sight of what really counts.  (Pope Francis)


The End is Near — Or Not

     What is it about that temple? The glory of Solomon’s reign, the king who built its first version, was destroyed by the Babylonians.  The second one rebuilt in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah was much more modest.  It would be desecrated at the time of the Maccabean revolt and then rededicated. When King Herod restored its ancient splendor it must have seemed indestructible.  But then the Romans destroyed it in 70AD leaving only the Western Wall where its ruins are wailed until this day. 

     Jesus seems had a complicated relationship with the temple.  Luke tells us he grew up in a family that honored temple traditions including the annual pilgrimage festivals.  John sets many scenes of Jesus’ public ministry in the temple — where he often clashed with the authorities — and where he would claim to be the true temple (Jn. 2:19).  And there was the famous incident of driving the moneychangers from the temple precincts calling the place a “den of thieves.”  It seems “bricks and mortar” religion will always be secondary to Jesus’ preference for religion “in spirit and in truth.”  And so the costly stones and votive offerings of temple religion — so easy to admire — have no guarantee of survival.  Indeed, the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down (G).  

     And what of politics — the other engine of human history alongside religion?  Jesus has a few predictions about that too.  Predictions someone like Helgard Müller might heed who published a book earlier this year entitled President Donald J. Trump, The Son of Man — The Christ.  Amazon’s blurb reports the author saying, “During the presidency of President Donald Trump, it became evident to me that the prophecies about the Son of Man, as predicted by Jesus in the Bible were, to a significant extent, fulfilled at the hands of Mr Trump….Upon reading this book, the reader will be captivated when they realize how President Donald John Trump fulfilled most of the prophecies as the Son of Man.” 

     Then there’s the Gospel of Luke: See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he,' and 'The time has come.’ Do not follow them! (G).  Luke might have been thinking of an unnamed Egyptian Jew he mentions in the Acts of the Apostles, someone “who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness” (21:38).  There was no shortage of people then either who were ready to anoint a Messiah they thought was a viable candidate.

     As for wars and insurrections which must happen first (G) before the wrap-up to human history, well, Luke probably had in mind the Zealots who tried to overthrow the Romans in the years prior to the destruction of the temple.  But Jesus himself was well aware of zealotry — one of his apostles, Simon, was a Zealot.  And Judas was no doubt a sympathizer — maybe even the dagger-wielding Peter in the Garden of Olives — all disappointed when Jesus’ “those who live by the sword will die by the sword” approach to political violence put an end to such things among his followers.  But what would Americans know about that?

     No, war-mongering types like Vladimir Putin are always around, often with religious lapdogs to support them, so I wouldn’t be too quick to cite today’s nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom (G) as a sign the end is near — unless of course the nuclear button is pushed.  Then maybe Malachi’s prophecy about a day [that] is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire.  Along with the rest of us.  Thankfully, the prophet tells us the sun of justice with its healing rays will arise at the same time (I).  (But I doubt his name is Trump).

     Now on to powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place (G).  Go check out last Monday’s “Index Map of Recent Earthquakes in California-Nevada.”  You’ll see 758 of them! While Putin’s gamesmanship over allowing Ukrainian grain shipments to leave port unhindered risks famine for untold numbers of people.  And as for plagues — I don’t think I need to say anything about that.  But please note, such things are all amply attested to whether in the New Testament itself or by Roman and Jewish historians.  Luke is probably referring to current events.   Finally, I said a lot last week about today’s believers being seized and persecuted and put to death (cf. G) — though Luke no doubt had in mind the hostility between Church and Synagogue that broke out at the end of the First Century — which was mild compared to what the Empire would inflict for centuries after.

     And those awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky? (G)  Well, there's no shortage of UFO signitngs -- even the government thinks there's something going in our skies they can't explain!  And this week's blood moon gave some evangelicals End Times Fever.  But so has every eclipse, comet and supernova over the past two millennia given some Christians pause to believe the Scripture is being fulfilled.  

     By now you’ve noticed how the prophecy we heard from Luke could be seen as already fulfilled in his own day.  On the other hand, there are people in every age, including our own, eager to announce “the End is Near” and cite the Bible as proof.  Maybe this “already-not yet” dynamic is designed to keep us guessing — and on our toes — so that by our perseverance we will secure our lives (cf. G).

     That’s what Paul was trying to get across to those people in Thessalonika who were so convinced the Second Coming was just around the corner they quit working ‘cause, after all, what’s the point saving for retirement when everything’s coming to an end anyway?  To which the apostle responds with advice that’s good for any age — keep busy, mind your own business, and work quietly (cf.  II).  Amen.     


Intercessions (The Sunday Website; Joe Milner)

For the Church: that we may offer hope and vision to all the human family in times of confusion and chaos.

For the grace of perseverance: that God will strengthen and sustain us to remain faithful in our discipleship in times of trial and distress.

For courage: that we may face the future, with both its joy and sorrows, confident that God who makes all things work together, is always with us and desires to give us fullness of life.

For all who are experiencing an “end of their world”: For those who have become ill, lost employment, been divorced or who are grieving the death of a loved one: that they may know God’s comforting presence this day and be strengthened by God’s spirit.

For families that are divided and in opposition to one another: that God's peace may touch their hearts and lead them toward reconciliation and healing.

For all who are persecuted, deprived of their rights, and used as pawns by the powers of this world: that the Sun of Justice may rise for them, heal their wounds, and raise the lowly to high places.

For peace: that God will open new ways to ensure peace and help nations to renounce nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.

For all who have died, particularly those who have served as our pastors, teachers, mentors and spiritual guides: that God will lead them into the fullness of life in God’s presence forever.

Lord God of all the ages,
the One who is, who was, and who is to come,
stir up within us a longing for your kingdom,
steady our hearts in time of trial,
and grant us patient endurance
until the sun of justice dawns.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.  Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Hymn

The day is coming, even now,

A day of judgment-time most dire,

When persecution shall ensue,

And faith be tried as though by fire.

For those who face these times of stress,

Endurance shall the battle stay:

The Sun of Righteousness shall rise

With healing in his ev’ry ray.

Work on in hope—the Lord will come,

Although he seems to long delay.

In courage wait, and faithful bide

Throughout the coming battle-fray.

Communion Antiphon


Closing Hymn

Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain

Leave to thy God to order and provide

In every change He faithful will remain

Be still my soul, thy best, thy heavenly friend

Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul when dearest friends depart

And all is darkened in the vale of tears

Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart

Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears

Be still my soul; the waves and winds shall know

His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still my soul; the hour is hastening on

When we shall be forever with the Lord

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone

Sorrow forgot - love's purest joys restored

Be still my soul when change and tears are past

All safe and blessed, we shall meet at last.