11 November 2021

'The word of God, a seed of eternity that transforms this world from within.' Sunday Reflections, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B


St Michael in Victory

At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time (Daniel 12:1. First Reading). 

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, [England & Wales], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings(New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Mark 13:24-32 (English Standard Version Anglicised: India)

Jesus said to his disciples:

“But in those days, after that tribulation, 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. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And 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 out 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 say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”


Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Pope Benedict XVI n Zagreb, Croatia, 2011

This week I will use the Angelus talk given by Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday 15 November 2009 when he spoke about today's Gospel. I have highlighted  some parts.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have reached the last two weeks of the liturgical year. Let us thank the Lord who has once again granted us to make this journey of faith old and ever new in the great spiritual family of the Church! It is a precious gift, which enables us to live the mystery of Christ in history, receiving in the furrows of our personal and community existence the seed of the word of God, a seed of eternity that transforms this world from within and opens it to the Kingdom of Heaven. This year, we have been accompanied along our itinerary through the Sunday biblical Readings by St Mark's Gospel, which today presents to us part of Jesus' discourse on the end of times. In this discourse is a phrase whose terse clarity is striking: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away (Mk 13: 31). Let us pause a moment to reflect on this prophecy of Christ.

The expression Heaven and earth recurs frequently in the Bible in reference to the whole universe, the entire cosmos. Jesus declares that all this is destined to pass away; not only the earth but also Heaven, which here is meant in a purely cosmic sense and not as synonymous with God. Sacred Scripture knows no ambiguity: all Creation is marked by finitude, including the elements divinized by ancient mythologies; there is no confusion between Creation and the Creator but rather a decided difference. With this clear distinction Jesus says that his words will not pass away, that is to say they are part of God and therefore eternal. Even if they were spoken in the concreteness of his earthly existence, they are prophetic words par excellence, as Jesus affirms elsewhere, addressing the heavenly Father: I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me (Jn 17: 8). In a well-known parable Christ compares himself to the sower and explains that the seed is the word (cf. Mk 4: 14); those who hear it, accept it and bear fruit (cf. Mk 4: 20) take part in the Kingdom of God, that is, they live under his lordship. They remain in the world, but are no longer of the world. They bear within them a seed of eternity a principle of transformation that is already manifest now in a good life, enlivened by charity, and that in the end will produce the resurrection of the flesh. This is the power of Christ's word.

Dear friends, the Virgin Mary is the living sign of this truth. Her heart was ‘good soil’ that received with complete willingness the Word of God, so that her whole life, transformed according to the image of the Son, was introduced into eternity, body and soul, in anticipation of the eternal vocation of every human being. Let us now make our own in prayer her response to the Angel: Let it be to me according to your word (Lk 1: 38), so that in following Christ on the way of the Cross we too may be able to attain the glory of the Resurrection.

The Sower
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

Christ compares himself to the sower and explains that the seed is the word (cf. Mk 4: 14).

Antiphona ad communionem   

Communion Antiphon (Mark 11:23-24)

Amen dico vobis, quidquid orantes petitis,

Amen, I say to you: Whatever you ask in prayer,

credite quia accipietis, et fiet vobis, [dicit Dominus].

believe that you will receive, and it will be given to you [says the Lord].

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