Scripture Reflection for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time . . .
First Reading: Daniel 12:1 -3
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16
Second Reading: Hebrews 10: 11-14, 18
Gospel: Mark 13: 24-32
The Readings for this week may appear to carry a sense of doom and description of end times. It is also the season of Autumn, the season of letting go, for some it may seem like the end times with the anticipation of a cold barren winter landscape and more darkness than light.
So it may be somewhat surprising to notice that the word “forever” appears in the First and Second Reading as well as the Responsorial Psalm. In the Gospel Jesus shares, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” There is the tone of constancy and eternity in his message.
We cannot imagine forever. But we long for it. We want to live forever. We were created for forever; for eternity. Today’s readings remind us of this truth. The readings also remind us that we are created to be close to God in this present moment in our acts of justice, wisdom, attentiveness, and forgiveness . . . Forever is happening now; eternity is now, the reign of God is in our midst – we don’t have to wait for it. We are called to participate in it now.
In our lives as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .
Returning from Germany, one of our Sister’s flight was rerouted due to an airline strike. Once reaching the States her next flight was cancelled. By the time a bus returned her to Philadelphia it was 24 hours after her initial departure. Yes, it was a long journey and could have felt like she was waiting forever. However, she shared, that after having been with several of the people seeking refuge in Germany her travel experience was trivial. It is often by allowing ourselves to imagine what it is like to be in another’s shoes we gain a new perspective. We have more compassion, patience, acceptance. A glimpse of eternity.
At the beginning of the week, another Sister and Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteer participated in serving a meal at a local soup kitchen. There were many volunteers that evening so each one had a small part in the feeding of the multitudes. Whether serving an individual a hot bowl of soup or washing the dishes, this is what it means to love others. Another glimpse of eternity.
One of our Sisters welcomed several new employees who will be working throughout the Sisters’ ministries. During this sharing on the Mission and values of the ministry, participants shared examples of their own experiences of justice, respect, compassion, and hospitality among other values that put the dignity of the human person at the center. Eternal truths.
Several of the gardeners in our community garden joined together to harvest bins of fresh produce for one of our Food Pantries. And eternity is seen in sharing the gifts of the earth with those more vulnerable.
A large gathering of Redeemer Associates joined for prayer and conversation on the spirituality of our Foundress and Congregation this week. The lives of so many men and women reveal the presence of God’s Spirit alive and active then, now and forever.
In your life . . .
The Readings this week offer a time to notice and participate in the reign of God here and now rather than trying to just get through this life so we can reach eternity. Live in the forever, now. Perhaps another way to phrase it is to live in the present moment. One way you may practice living in the moment is to pause at the end of the day for about 15 minutes to reflect on the day’s gifts and the challenges, to reflect on how you have loved and been loved, and when it was difficult to give or receive love. End by asking for whatever grace you need to take the next step.
Blessings on your week!