Don Bosco Philippines South Province

Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippine South Province FIS

Hope in the Lord

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Today’s Gospel from Mark 13:24-32 talks about, as many would call it, the end of time. The language that Jesus used at the beginning seems to be scary: “In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” These words seem to be familiar especially for those who lived at the turn of the new millenium. There were ‘prophecies’ that came out before the calendar turned from December 31, 1999 to January 1, 2000. People panicked, bought candles and matches and had them blessed in Church, all because of the news about some days of darkness. I was ending my elementary years then when this happened. There was also the so-called ‘end’ of the Mayan calendar which would usher as well the end of time on December 21, 2012. Years have passed since these predictions, yet we are still here. These events will once again be remembered especially as we approach the end of the liturgical year.

What did our Lord Jesus mean when He said these words? To give us a Biblical context and background: during the time when our Lord Jesus ministered, Israel was under Roman rule. The people longed for a Savior, a Messiah who will deliver them from this foreign rule. They looked forward to the end of the sufferings that they have experienced under their rule. Our Lord Jesus, using these words from the Prophet Isaiah talked about the end of the rule of their oppressors over them: “their powers will be shaken.” Jesus’ statement was a word of hope and encouragement to the people, that the end of these oppressive and abusive powers over them will have an end. Taking these words in our present situation, our Lord Jesus is telling us that there will be an end to the pandemic, the sufferings, the problems that we are facing and experiencing, maybe not today, maybe not immediately, but it will. This is also a reminder to the oppressors, the unjust, those who are abusing their power and authority, that one day, their rule will also have an end. Hope.

“The Lord Himself will come again to gather everyone to Himself, saints and sinners alike.”

This message of hope by the Lord Jesus is all the more intensified when He said later in the Gospel, “then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” The Lord Himself will come again to gather everyone to Himself, saints and sinners alike. This, my dear friends, is an encouragement for all of us live the gift of life that God has given us to the full: in holiness and truth. Some people have been asking if only those who are vaccinated can attend Mass here in Don Bosco. We tell the people these words: ‘everyone is welcome here in the Church, and we encourage you to follow the minimum health protocols as mandated by the authorities.’ Everyone is welcome in the Church. Everyone is welcome in the Kingdom of God. This is the beautiful message portrayed by the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at the entrance gate of DBFC. With open arms, all are welcome in this place to experience God’s saving and forgiving love. This is also an invitation for all of us to a life of repentance, especially if we see that we have been away from the Lord. We have the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession in order for us to be in fellowship once again with God (a priest is available at the Confessional for those who would like to go).

Towards the end of the Gospel, Jesus gave the example of a fig tree and said that we have to be aware when the branch of the fig tree will become tender and will start to have leaves. It means that summer is near. We are told to be aware, to open our eyes to the many signs that tell us of God’s coming. The Lord comes to us in many different ways: through His Word, through the Sacraments, in nature, through persons who have shown love and care for us. We even tell these persons, “parang hulog ka ng langit,” which means that they are God’s gift to us especially in our trying times. Have you told someone these words or have you been told these same words: parang hulog ka ng langit? It takes one to have eyes of faith in order to recognize and see God’s hand in everything and in everyone. Thus we have to be aware and always be ready.

Hope and awareness. Hope that as we continue to live life, God ever pours His graces on us in order to face sufferings, problems, and difficulties in life. Awareness of God’s active presence in our life especially in these challenging times. Let us also become agents of hope to those who are in despair and are depressed. Let us help others to be aware of how God is with them despite all these that they are experiencing. Brothers and sisters, do we have to be afraid? I believe not. He is saying to all of us, as in the last part of the Gospel, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” The Lord is inviting us to hope and be always aware for His coming to us every day and in momentous events in our life. He is truly the Emmanuel, God who is with us always.

Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.

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