Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary 160 . 33rd Sun. Ordinary Time - C- Malachai 3:19-20.
Psalm 98:5-6,7-8.9. II Thessalonians 3:7-12. Luke 21:5-19:
One of the strongest virtues in the New Testament is patient endurance.
One Bible translator has rendered this as "sheer-dogged endurance." This
is the last line of today's Gospel, and it can serve to help us think about
how we are to win our lives, that is, be saved? Jesus connects this
patient endurance as part of our way of cooperating with his redemptive
gift of self through suffering, death, resurrection, and glorification.
The word in Koine (Common) Greek is hypomone which has several meanings:
patient endurance, perseverance, and steadfastness. Frances Xavier Cabrini
the saint who died in Chicago practiced this virture every step of the way
God put before her. She exemplifies the virtue in an extraordinary manner
in all of the reversals, disappointments and failures she endured while
moving ahead with building schools, hospitals, and orphanages. Only the New
Revised Version translates the verse in the following way that helps us see
it connected to our salvation: "By your endurance you will gain your
The words are certainly meant for the above events mentioned in Luke 21:
5-19: the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the appearance of false
messiahs, the rumors of wars, earthquakes, plagues, and famines.
Imprisonments, and even conflict between brother and sister, father and
mother over against their children. Jesus keeps telling us to persevere, to
be steadfast, to endure patiently.
Many are terrified by the mention of hell and demons, purgatory, suffering,
and events that are recorded here in Luke's Gospel. This, if not seen in
the context of the whole message of the New Testament, can divert us from
being at peace with ourselves and having the ability to persevere through
all of these threats. Some acquire a warped sense of the image of God,
others suffer from scupulosity, still others think negatively about
themselves as being of no worth. This often takes a lifetime of effort and
help to overcome and some do not succeed. First impressions of who God is
are often linked to only a God who keeps score on our sins of omission and
commission. The image of God as love that is so strong in the Bible is
obscured by our images of God. Yet, we hear that our being strong and
enduring in our faith in a God who is love is what will bring us through
and give us the bigger and better picture that the Good News brings. We
often suffer from a strong formation in faith and are dominated more by a
fear of God as judge.
The readings nevertheless do help us to correct our misgivings. At the end
of Malachai we read, "But for you who fear my name, there will arise the
sun of justice with its healing rays." We answer to the message at the end
of the reading with "This is the Word of the Lord."
It is never to late to change our approach to God. A conversion of heart
and mind are necessary and the grace of God is there through the sacrament
of reconciliation and the healing power of the Eucharist. "God is love."
Patient endurance helps us to see things more clearly, albeit, in the long
run. We are cleansed of the fear of our sins from the past which is now a
closed book after the effects of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which
bring home to us individually as well as a community of faith--strong faith
as the word "patient-endurance means. We listen to the Psalm and its
response and find there is a calming message there too. "The Lord comes to
rule the earth with justice and the people with equity."
In Thessalonians Paul tells us not to stop working. The end of the world
is not able to be figured out by anyone--even Jesus tells us elsewhere it
is not his nor ours to announce, but only God's, his Father. We keep taking
that one step at a time patiently and with sheer dogged endurance
(hypomone). The Mother of Jesus, Mary of Nazareth, is a woman of such
perseverance in strong faith (fortes in fide). She is " a disciple who in a
certain sense sums up and reechoes in her own person the main themes of
Christian teaching, a mother of supporting and protecting the faith of her
children. She who looked constantly on the face fo her son Jesus can help
us to form a correct image of who God is--Love Incarnate. We therefore
pray for the faith that is supported by endurance and patience: "Almighty
and eternal God, you gave the Blessed Virgin Mary, glorious mother of your
Son, as a pillar of strength to all who call upon her aid; grant through
her intercession that we may be strong in faith (fortes in fide),
unwavering in hope, and steadfast in love." Yes, by your patience you shall
possess your souls. Amen.
About the Author
We welcome guest contributors who graciously volunteer their writing for our readers. Please support our guest writers by visiting their sites, purchasing their work, and leaving comments to thank them for sharing their gifts here on CatholicMom.com. To inquire about serving as a guest contributor, contact editor@CatholicMom.com.