Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dn 12:1-33, Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11-14, Mk 13: 24-32
“The wise shall shine brightly, like the splendor of the firmament,
and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”
In recent years we have learned much of the origins of our universe and its ever-expanding movement outward from the center in creative, chaotic yet hopeful patterns. The prophet Daniel promises that, in spite of difficulty, the wise will shine brightly and that those committed to the realization of justice, shall glow like the stars forever. His is a message of hope to those experiencing trials and struggles.
Barbara Reid, O.P., a noted theologian, reminds us that Daniel’s words are not unlike those of current cosmologists who tell us that our bodies are stardust, made flesh, composed of particles that were present in the fireball that marked the beginning of the universe. Throughout the ages those who condemn evil and endure struggle within the context of hope, will encounter the divine and serve as beacons of light for others.
In Mark’s Gospel, times of great difficulty are similarly portrayed. Again the promise of God’s enduring presence is clearly stated – the Son of Man is coming with great power and glory to gather the faithful into the fullness of life.
Today’s readings call us to be confident in all circumstances, for our loving Creator is ever with us. We are called to believe that God is always at work in our personal lives and in our world. We are encouraged to be attentive for we know not the day nor the hour of God’s redemptive coming. The most difficult of experiences can give birth to the most hopeful of blessings if we remain open, hopeful and engaged in the struggle of good over evil.
I am reminded of a poem by Wendell Berry –
“In the dark of the moon, in flying snow
in the dead of winter – wars spreading, families dying,
the world in danger, I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover.”
We must all sow clover, especially in challenging times. Today’s scripture reminds us that new and promising beginnings can spring from patient endurance. Hope is the certainty that God can transform the darkest hour into an occasion of grace.
And so, we pray:
Keep us faithful, Oh God, in the good times and the difficult times. We desire to encounter you in all of life’s circumstances and in the lives of all our sisters and brothers. Give us your strength, enable us to experience your love and then to share it generously with others.
Sister Mary Eileen O’Brien, O.P.