The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 14th November 2021
Lectionary Readings: Dan. 12:1-3; Ps. 16:5, 8, 9, 10 -11; Heb. 10:11-14; Mark 13:24-32
Theme: Whoever believes, trusts
Sunday’s readings present us with an invitation to hope. They invite us to trust in the God who is liberator, Lord of history, and the one who has a definitive life plan for humanity. Trust in this God, will – say our texts – change the night of our world into the endless dawn of life.
In the first reading, the prophet Daniel announces to the persecuted and discouraged believers the imminent arrival of the time of divine intervention to save the faithful People. We see the name of “Michael”, the chief of the heavenly army, whom God will send to punish persecutors and to protect the faithful. In Judaism, “Michael” is understood as a heavenly spirit, a protective angel, who watches over the People of God and who, by divine mandate, works the liberation of the persecuted just, whose name is inscribed “in the book of life”. From Daniel’s perspective, God will also resurrect those who have already died; to reward them for faithfulness or punish those for the evils they have done (Dan 12: 2).
The letter to the Hebrews, which is more than a letter, rather a homily, is intended for Christian communities that are living in troubled days due to the lack of enthusiasm of many of its members in living the Christian commitment. Furthermore; the hostility of the enemies to the nascent Church and to certain teachings contrary to the doctrine of Jesus caused weakness. The letter then is an invitation to revitalize and return to Christian commitment, so that they have a more coherent and rooted faith in Christ. The author presents Jesus, as the priest par excellence. His mission is to create a relationship between the faithful and the Father and to insert them into the priestly People who make up the Christian community. Once committed to Christ, Christians are called to make their lives a continual sacrifice of praise, surrender, and love.
The Gospel of Mark shows us Jesus in Jerusalem just before his passion and death on the Cross. It is the third day of Jesus’ stay in Jerusalem, the day of “teachings”. His message has an apocalyptic tone: the objective is to show the disciples how they should live in the face of the difficulties that will mark their journey of faith, until the second coming takes place when Jesus will come to establish, definitively, the new heaven and the new Earth: The Son of Man, full of power and glory, who will come to gather his elect (Mk 13:27). With this prophetic image, Apostolo Marcos wants to show the faithful the definitive triumph of Christ over the oppressive powers and also the liberation of those who, despite persecution, remain faithful. What Mark means is that there will be many tribulations and difficulties, but the victory is certain, so we cannot shake with fear and fall into despair.
Christians convinced that God has a life plan for the world, must be witnesses to this hope! We cannot just sit back and wait for the new world to fall from the sky; but we are called to announce and build this new world, with our lives, words, and gestures.
For Reflection and Discussion: 1. Hope is an act of faith. Have I lived my faith and had hope even in the face of difficulties? 2. In a world where we are increasingly losing faith and hope, have I, as a Christian, been an example of faithfulness to others?
Bibliography: McKenzie, J.L. Dictionary of the Bible (New York: 1965).
This week’s Sunday Liturgy Commentary was prepared by
Nayon Nigel Cezar, Israel, Contributor