33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C - Readings: Malachi 3:19-20A; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19
(The Destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, Francesco Hayez, 1867)
The readings of today call us to align with God our Creator, thus we may shine brightly. We are invited not to be distracted even by beautiful parts of our life. Instead, we are called to know the reality of life. What remains with us is true reality and that true reality is God. In other words, we are invited to enter fully into God's reality.
Gospel reading of today reminds us that not to too attached to the present state of the world - even the beautiful parts, even our life here. Because everything pales in comparison to the life God has in mind.
The God of the scriptures is the God of righteousness. Such a God of justice lifts up the poor, holds servants in highest esteem, forgives the unforgiveable, loves those who disown Him. We can see the God's justice from different perspectives. Justice is sun: it destroys with a blazing heat and heals with rays of light. Justice is a witness to God: it leads to martyrdom and eternal life.
Therefore, I am called to align with God. Thus I may be healed than destroyed by God's justice. Then my identity will be perfect when I align with God's justice which comprises when I practice mercy, forgive others and myself, practice love, do good, practice service, show compassion and mercy, be nice to others and see the good in people. Thus others joy becomes my joy, others healing becomes my healing. As a consequence, I might shine brightly.
C. S. Lewis' The Great Divorce, gives allegory of the afterlife in which he tells us when people arrive in heaven, even the softest grass in heaven feels like knives to their feet. Giving witness to the Gospel is to critique of our contemporary ways of living despite the reaction they might provoke. "To live here is to change often is to become more perfect"(Newman)
St John Henry Newman wrote beautifully this poem which tells us the nature of God: "Lead, kindly light, amidst the encircling gloom, lead thou me on." In this connection, we could ask for a grace to discern our life in the Spirit, so that we authentically align with God to shine brightly on this universe.
- Olvin Veigas, SJ
17th October 2019