Soul Food for Young Adult Communities: November 17th 2013: ThirtyThird Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C (‘Year of Luke’):
Gospel today is from Luke 21:5-19. You can find it in your Bible, or your missal, or click here for Sunday Mass Readings.
This reflection is written by Sarah Kelly, a young adult. Thanks, Sarah! (Ed.)
How powerfully mesmerising is today’s Gospel? It is both terrifying and comforting at once. The scenes depicted in today’s Gospel seem quite prophetic in light of what is happening in our world today. You would be forgiven for thinking that you were reading one of today’s tabloids. We have witnessed some serious catastrophes in the last days, weeks, and months. How prophetic in character is today’s Gospel, in particular “earthquakes, famines and plagues”, the most recent such incident being in the Philippines, where thousands of people have died. Indeed, we have also experienced ‘nations fighting against each other’, when you think of the widespread violence in Syria. We must always read the signs of the times in relation to the Gospel message. Karl Barth once said that we must do theology with the Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other; we can apply this sentiment to our present times.
I have been reading in certain news tabloids that we will soon be facing the apocalypse. If it wasn’t for my faith, I’d be afraid. But, I smile, and think “Well, Lord, if this is it, thank you for the life you gave me, and your Will be done”. However, the only one we can trust is Jesus, and we should not listen to these ‘false prophets’ who claim to have all the answers. The only answer is Jesus Christ. We should not be scared by what we read in this passage, Jesus even assures us “do not be frightened”. Yes, these terrible things are happening in the world, but we must remember always that despite what happens to us here on earth, there is something wonderful waiting for us. Nothing can really harm us here. All life is transient, all the great buildings, cities, will one day fade away, but on that day, “not a hair of your head will perish”. We are made for something far greater than war and natural disasters. We are children of God.
As I was reading today’s Gospel, an interesting image came to mind. Ever since I was a child, I have never liked the dark! Especially at night. I was very lucky to have a street light outside my window that radiated enough light to comfort me, but at the same time it wasn’t too much to keep me awake. Even today, it is reassuring to have a little light coming through my window at night. And that’s exactly what the Gospel is. It is our light in the darkest of our days, shining brilliantly amid the gloom. Jesus is our window through whom the light of God shines, he is as Edward Schillebeeckx once affirmed “divine in a human way, and human in a divine way”, and again he is “God with a human heart”.
So, my friends,
DO NOT BE AFRAID.
P.S. Click here to see BBC News about the homeless sheltering in the Redemptorist Church in Tacloban, Philippines.