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Friday, 11 November 2022 17:06

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C - 2022

Fr Yon Wiryono headshot 150Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

We have come to the end of the Church’s liturgical calendar, Year C. This Sunday is the second last Sunday of our liturgical year. As we approach the end of the Church year, it’s no surprise that through the scripture we reflect on, the Church invites us to contemplate the final end of things. 

It’s normal that people don’t like to talk about the end of things; the end of life (death), the end of the world, the end of something that is good. People would like to have a kind of stability in their lives. People are used to the familiarity with things, without any radical change that can possibly cause fear, panic, frustration and instability. In short, people want peace in their hearts and surrounds.

By Your Endurance you Will Gain your Souls TwitterThe Gospel for this Sunday, 33rd Sunday of ordinary time year C, presents us with the opposite of what people expect in life. It feels like a bomb falling from the sky when Jesus tells his own people, the Jewish people, that the time will come when the Temple in Jerusalem that they adorn, will have not a single stone left on another. In other words, everything will be destroyed. Keep in mind that for the Jewish people, the Temple in Jerusalem is the centre of their life and religiosity. The fall of the temple means the collapse of the religion; the collapse of the Jewish culture, and the end of what gives them meaning in life.

Let’s look at our own reality nowadays. Let’s think about the ongoing war in Ukraine!! We used to think that war belonged to the past, but what we witness now is unthinkable. How on earth, in this civilised and modern world, is war still happening? It’s mentioned too in the Gospel; “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” 

Jesus also mentions about the persecution of his followers, that they (His followers) will be hated by all for His name’s sake. All that Jesus prophesises has happened. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. The persecution of Christians happens everywhere, even until present time.

Reflecting on this challenging Gospel, the question that perhaps comes strongly in our mind would be how to hold on in the midst of the many crises in today’s world? Does Jesus really frighten us, his disciples?

First of all, when we contemplate this hard saying of Jesus, somehow, we can think that it is Jesus’ way of showing that everything is passing away. The spiritual message is quite simple; nothing is permanent, nothing lasts forever. For us, this message is not meant to be heard as a threat, but as a truth, that nothing lasts forever.

Sometimes, in the midst of the things that’s out of our control, we are hopeless. We can’t do anything to stop the war in Ukraine. We can’t do anything to stop persecution happening to us; perhaps in other part of the country. So how to makes sense of all of this?

Again, Jesus, through His message this Sunday, is telling us “your endurance will win you your lives”. I think we are called to be faithful, when we have thousands of reasons to doubt or to give up. Jesus’ words are not spoken to frighten us, but rather they are offered to prepare us for the reality of life, that as we journey in the midst of many difficulties of the present time, there’s a great need for perseverance.

Secondly, God puts us in a world of passing things where everything changes and nothing remains the same. We know that the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. It’s a hard lesson to take. It helps us to appreciate everything as gift. It will not last forever, but while we breathe in it, we can enjoy it, and know that it is another moment of God, another moment of life.

Let’s take every moment as a moment of grace, even in the midst of persecution! Don’t we understand that Jesus is saying too, this will be a time for you to bear testimony. So, what’s our testimony in the context of suffering and life’s difficulties?

It’s faith in God; to hold on and never give up. To be Christians in the midst of any crisis means to be faithful and never give up hope. Jesus uses the paradox; the first is a series of frightening events like wars, persecution, catastrophes, etc, but then he reassures us by saying ‘Not a hair of your head will perish”.

He is telling us that, yes, we can’t avoid many troubles of this world, but we should never lose faith in Him. That’s our attitude as Christians; an attitude of hope and faith in God which allows us not to be overwhelmed by all the tragic events, but remain trusting in God’s providential love and grace. The disciples of Jesus cannot be imprisoned by fear, but instead, are living in faith and hope. Let us go forward with renewed hope and faith that God will never abandon us.