14Nov Sunday, November 14 2021 Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

(1) Daniel (12:1-13)

Daniel’s vision about the end of time, including the resurrection of the dead

At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, keep the words secret and the book sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be running back and forth, and evil shall increase.

Then I, Daniel, looked, and two others appeared, one standing on this bank of the stream and one on the other. One of them said to the man clothed in linen, who was upstream, “How long shall it be until the end of these wonders?”

The man clothed in linen, who was upstream, raised his right hand and his left hand toward heaven. And I heard him swear by the one who lives forever that it would be for a time, two times, and half a time, and that when the shattering of the power of the holy people comes to an end, all these things would be accomplished.

I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, cleansed, and refined, but the wicked shall continue to act wickedly. None of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand. From the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that desolates is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred ninety days. Happy are those who persevere and attain the thousand three hundred thirty-five days. But you, go your way, and rest; you shall rise for your reward at the end of the days.”

Responsorial: from Psalm 16

R./: You are my inheritance, O Lord!

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup,
you it is who hold my destiny in hand.
I set the Lord ever before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (R./)

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body also rests secure;
because you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
nor let your faithful one see the Pit. (R./)

You will show me the path to life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand is delight forever. (R./)

(2) Hebrews 10:11-14, 18

Christ offered a single sacrifice for sins, valid for all time

Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,” he also adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Gospel: Mark 13:24-32

Warnings about  the second coming of Christ

Jesus said to his disciples: “In those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

When the Son of Man returns…

Metaphors like “burning your boats” or “burning your bridges,” suggest a radical option with no turning back. Having your lamp alight is a gentler image, but still a good one, for meeting the challenge of life. “What shall be the outcome?” is the question posed in both Old and New Testament. Where is this world headed? And more personally, what of my own destiny in the life to come? About that day or hour no one knows. And just as well, for it would be difficult knowledge to cope with. But his message is to be ready to meet him, whenever he comes. The Lord comes to us in many ways, both to gift us and challenge us. Welcoming him is what really makes us Christians, sharing the spirit of his first followers who said “Maranatha” — “Our Lord, come !” We are invited to live our lives within an awareness of eternity, seeing this life as preparation for and building towards an endless life with God.

The faster our cars become, it seems, the more we have to spend time waiting for the lights to change to green. The queue and the traffic-jam are signs of our times. The more we are in a hurry the more we feel held up. We travel at speed through the air, but wait interminably at airports. Business life is punctuated with frustrating times waiting for appointments. How do we wait? Sometimes with great impatience, sometimes with anxiety. But our waiting can also be coloured with joyful expectation. Expectation is often more pleasurable than realization. As Shakespeare said, “All things that are, are with more pleasure chased than enjoyed.”

How should a believer await the coming of the Lord? Carefully, as those employed and carrying great responsibility. We will have to give an account of all our doings. The books must be in order. Actively, with our lamps burning, not asleep. We have to keep on working until the end. There is no time when we can say we have arrived, we have it all made. Joyfully, for if we are ready, then it is a joy to await the bridegroom and enter into the marriage feast. Hopefully, for we await him who in his one sacrifice lives to make intercession for our sins. In him we have confidence. He comes to reward us who have remained faithful and whose names are written in the book of life.

Our vision of the last things should not sink us in pessimism, or despair at our sinfulness. But the question should be asked: How ready are we? Our faith tells us that some generation in history will experience the second coming of Christ. Then a person may have but a moment to wonder: “Am I ready? Am I prepared? Even if ours is not the generation to see the second coming, still each of us must face our personal day of death. For some it comes unexpectedly, out of the blue, even perhaps at a young age. For others it will be fairly predictable and follow the more natural course of ageing and decline. Regardless, there will be a time when each must ask the question: “Am I ready? Am I prepared? Meanwhile, we are faced with multiple choices to make each day which may seem insignificant; but they all add up pointing us in particular directions, sometimes good, sometimes less so. Are our everyday decisions helping to make us ready? Are they making us prepared?

With the busy-ness of life it is easy to forget about the second coming of Christ. We prefer to ignore our mortality and put off our preparation for the death which we all must face. How do we prepare ourselves? How do we get ready? How will we be sure that the Lord recognizes us? What are the right choices to make during our day? The end of chapter 25 reads: “Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Although we do not know the day or the hour of the second coming of Christ, Although we do not know the day or the hour of our own deaths, we have been told what staying awake entails. It seems that if we meet the response from the Lord: “Amen, I say to you, I do not know you, it will be because of our foolishness and not because of a lack of mercy or justice on the part of the Lord.

3 Responses

  1. Thara Benedicta

    Key Message:
    Let us hope to see the rainbow hiding behind the storm!!

    The takeaway from the first reading:

    The first reading puts forth clearly a major difference between the wise and the unwise. A wise person understands the reason behind the sufferings in his life. He understands that sufferings are unavoidable. John 16:33: “In the world, ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world”. So he does not give up his hope and waits earnestly for his breakthrough. He always knows that God is in control and will make everything beautiful in His time. Even though the devil may create suffering in his life, he will stand strong like a house built on a rock. He knows that God will bring Him greater glory through his untold sufferings. He will not waiver from his trust in God nor cry like people without hope. But since the unwise do not understand, they are unable to accept it and complain about the little inconveniences also. They do make “Much ado about nothing”.

    We should always replace our complaining with our thanksgiving!! God will bless us when we give thanks instead of complaining. I learned it through my personal experiences. I was facing issues with a property. While I was complaining about it, and praying and asking God, “Why are we going through problems in this property?”. I could hear the silent reply, “Give thanks”. Then I remembered that I have not been considering this property as a blessing from God and never thanked God with a heart of gratitude. I started thanking God with a heart full of thanks, and we begin to witness lots of blessings and all the problems arriving at a solution.

    Thanksgiving makes God joyful. Complaining makes the devil joyful.

    The takeaway from the second reading:
    Quite often we repeatedly think about our past life and feel bad about it. In today’s Second reading God says: “Once forgiven, I will remember your sins no more”. But though God has forgiven and forgotten, we do not find rest. We are good at reminding God about our past sins which He has forgotten. Our Almighty Father says: “It’s ok, I am waiting for you. All the problems that you have created, I will clean them up. My child, I did not create you to be restless all your life. I give you my peace”.
    When our Lord Jesus entered any place, He first wished “Peace be with you”. He did not wish, “worry be with you” or “suffering is with you” or “always keep repenting”.

    When the good thief asked for forgiveness to our Lord Jesus, our Lord never said like – “Son all your life you have been stealing, which caused suffering to lots of people. So many people cried because of you. So please keep asking for forgiveness for the few more hours you have. Then I will grant you a place in Heaven today”.
    No, Our Lord forgave him instantaneously. Imagine the happiness of the good thief about his secured future in Heaven with the Lord Jesus!! Nothing else would have mattered to him. When we feel repeatedly sorry for the same mess we have created, let us picture ourselves as the good thief hanging on the cross of repentance and asking forgiveness to Jesus. We can also enjoy the same forgiveness of our Lord Jesus!!

    Why should we keep reminding ourselves of something that our Lord Jesus has forgotten?

    The takeaway from Gospel reading:

    Do we think that we do not have proper clothes or a proper house or can we get some help from the government? All these needs will be easily met in our new government formed by our Lord Jesus. Our focus is to be part of the kingdom of our Lord Jesus at the end of the world. Our Lord Jesus says in today’s Gospel reading: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

    The promises of our Lord Jesus are so many in the Holy Bible and when read with faith, will bring anyone out of depression easily.

    When we do not read and enjoy the ‘Word of God’ regularly, we are not aware of how to use the promised blessings in the world of God. Actually it is a kind of “User Manual” for how we should operate our life. For any problem in our life, we can find a solution therein.

    The Holy Bible is the wonderful book written by our Almighty God, through His servants, just for us. It is like a “GOOGLE” search engine, where we get the answers for our queries. The Holy Bible gives answers for which “google” also will not have answers.

    When our Lord Jesus was tested, Jesus also won over the devil by quoting the scripture verses.
    When our Jesus referred to the scripture verses and won over the devil, why can’t we?

    Tips for implementing the Takeaways:

    1. We are happy when we see offers and discounts like 10%, 25%, 50% or 75% in shops. We eagerly buy and claim the goods. But the ‘Word of God’ gives 100% discounts for all our sins, when we go to Jesus. Let us claim the 100% discount from our loving Lord Jesus

    2. Today’s first reading states the promise of the Lord: “You shall rise for your reward at the end of the days”. All are good acts, big or small will be rewarded at the end of the day. So let us always be careful to live our life dutifully, so that reap in abundance at the end of our days. When we live our lives fruitfully, when we reach the later stages of our life, we will enjoy the peace and we will be sure of our place in Heaven. There is nothing better than leading a fruitful life and there is nothing worse than living with regrets in old age. So wherever we are now, let us start to do whatever good we can for others.

    3. We should look at our troubles with our eyes of trust in God. God always gives a rainbow after a storm. Neither the storm nor the rainbow is permanent. We can never continue to be in the storm all the time or enjoy the rainbow all the time.

    God will always bless us with a rainbow after every storm!!

  2. Pádraig McCarthy

    14 Nov 2021 – feast of St Laurence O’Toole

    St Laurence O’Toole, Dublin.
    In the diocese of Dublin, on 14 November we celebrate the solemnity of St Lorcán (Laurence) O’Toole, patron of the diocese. In the diocese, this celebration takes precedence over the regular Sunday liturgy.
    He was born in the 1120s near the place we now call Castledermot. While young, he was given as a hostage to King Diarmuid MacMurrough of Leinster, where he was badly treated. He was transferred then to the monastery at Glendalough. The monastic life appealed to him, and he stayed on there, becoming a monk and then abbot. He was asked to become bishop of Glendalough at the age of 25, but he declined due to his young age. In 1162 he was appointed archbishop of Dublin, the first native-born Irish bishop of the diocese.
    Dublin at the time was a small settlement – the “built-up” area was not more than 500m by 300m, so perhaps even smaller at the time than the monastic city of Glendalough! The diocese of Glendalough was far larger than the diocese of Dublin. Even nearly 500 years later, in John Speed’s 1610 map of Dublin, the city area is not much larger, with just one bridge over the river Liffey at Bridge Street as the time of Laurence. The pattern and pace of life, however, was different.
    The Cathedral was Christchurch (the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity), at the centre of the town. The earliest manuscript dates Christ Church Cathedral to its present location around 1030. It was built by Sitric Silkbeard, son of Olaf, Viking king of Dublin, probably a wooden structure at the time. During the time of Laurence O’Toole a stone cathedral was built. Laurence introduced the Arrouaisian Augustinian Canons from northern France to the cathedral and was one of the community where he was able to continue his monastic life while archbishop.
    His Irish name was Lorcán; for his Latin name he chose Laurence, which has no connection with his baptismal name except similarity. However, perhaps he chose Laurence because of St Laurence of Rome, who was famed in Rome in the third century for his care for the poor. Laurence O’Toole was renowned also for this.
    Life became much more complicated with the arrival in Ireland of the Normans in 1169. They occupied Dublin in 1170, with many deaths. Laurence and the diocese cared for those affected. King Henry II came to Dublin in 1171. In December 1170 Henry was responsible for the death of Thomas (á) Becket, archbishop of Canterbury. Not a good omen.
    Life was extra complicated for Laurence in that the Normans had been brought to Ireland by Diarmuid MacMurrough, whose wife was a sister of Laurence, and whose daughter Aoife married the Norman knight Strongbow. Strongbow’s tomb is in Christchurch cathedral in Dublin. For the rest of his life, while continuing his work as bishop, Laurence worked for peace and reconciliation between the Irish and the Normans, with little success. Henry II treated him with disdain. In 1180, Laurence sought to meet with Henry in England. Henry, however, went to his territory in France. Laurence followed him, but died on the way in Eu in Normandy, where he is buried,
    We might see the difficulties over the Northern Ireland protocol today as one of the consequences of those events at the time of Laurence O’Toole.
    The Collect for Mass on the feast of St Laurence O’Toole from the National Proper for Ireland reflects some of his life experience:
    God of all holiness,
    who called Saint Laurence O’Toole from a life of quiet and solitude
    to be a shepherd of your people,
    a teacher of the clergy ad friend of the poor,
    grant, we pray, that we may follow his example of perseverance
    and through his intercession
    arrive at the peace of your kingdom.

  3. Jonathan Tembo

    Readings for Sunday, Nov 14, 2021…

    Thank you Thara Benedicta, I always make it a point to go through your take on take on the readings. I find them very insightful and uplifting, calling us to put all our trust in God. May the Lord give you strength to continue with this wonderful work.