Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 18, 2018
There’s an old Chinese blessing—or is it a curse: “May you live in interesting times!” Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman with the Sunday Soundbite for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time.
We live in times marked with the constant threat of terrorism, dizzying changes in technology, and a struggle by people just to keep up. I suspect we’d all trade a lot of the chaos for something less “interesting.”
We’re in good company. Read today’s passage from the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark. It’s from a section of “apocalyptic” sayings by Jesus. “Apocalyptic” writing in the Bible deals with the future, and is full of strange and poetic symbolism. Its meaning can be a mystery.
Scripture scholars suggest that this chapter of Mark reflects in part the chaotic times in which Mark’s community lived—perhaps in the midst of Roman persecution. Fear, violence, threats to the community were a reality. Christians must have wondered if the end was near.
In response, Mark reassures us with the words of Jesus. In verses just preceding today’s selection, we hear that the end of all things must wait until the gospel is proclaimed to the ends of the earth—a task still in process today. True, Christians must struggle, but they’re not to retreat from chaos. Instead, we must be in the midst of it–active witnesses to hope. Jesus’ words, full of hope, will never pass away.