Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Week 28 in Ordinary Time

& archive, main, Year B.

Lord Jesus Christ,
You call us to come
To be with you,
And to learn trust, faith.
By your Spirit help me
To see you,
To hear your voice.
Amen

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Week 28 in Ordinary Time

The lectionary guide brings us alongside Jesus as he and his close followers are leaving the temple . We are invited to join them as they walk through the Sharon gate and as one of the disciples remarks on the large stones and the enormity of the temple building. As they gaze at the thirty-foot high archway and the huge stones which support it, Jesus makes a startling statement: “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” (See Mark 13:1-13,24-27)

The group grows quiet as they follow Jesus along the path to the Mount of Olives. The disciples cannot imagine such a catastrophe. This temple had been the center of their communal life and worship since childhood, and the center of their people’s worship for centuries. What is Jesus talking about? But Jesus had said other shocking things: “Cast your net on the other side of the boat.” “You do not need to send the multitude away. You feed them.” To the stormy winds and waves he had said, “Peace, be still!” And to countless blind, lame, deaf, and sick people he had said, “Go you way; your faith has healed you.” Recently he had been talking of suffering, death, burial and resurrection. And now he talks of the temple being destroyed?
Finally Peter, James, John, and Andrew draw him aside and press him for more information: “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things will be accomplished?”

In response Jesus begins to lead his followers into the future, giving them counsel, uncovering what is yet unknown to them, and alerting them to the dangers:

“Beware that no one leads you astray.
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed . . .
There will be earthquakes . . . famines .
This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”

Something is about to be birthed. The suffering of this long and cosmic labor will invade the lives of these disciples.

But in the middle of this dark horizon, Jesus places a bright light:

“You will stand before governors and kings because of me,
as a testimony to them. And the good news must first be
proclaimed to all nations . . . . Do not worry . . . about what
you are to say; but say whatever is given you, for it is not
you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”

After that suffering . . . they will see ‘the Son of Man coming
In clouds’ with great power and glory . . . .”

This is the birthing. God writes the last chapter, as he sends out the angels
to gather his own from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. All
is in God’s hand.

Therefore, Jesus says: “Keep awake!” (Mark 13:35)

As we come to the end of this lectionary year’s pilgrimage, we too are drawn into gazing into the future. The invitation here is for this future reality to shape our living now: as we enter Advent, and the Christmas season. Jesus reminds us to “keep awake” as we wait for his return, — and as we prepare for Christmas. The noise and glitz, the lure to buy, the insistent commercials, can lull is into a forgetful slumber – while becoming anxious lest we do not buy enough.
Hear the words of Jesus: “Keep awake!” Hear the One who comes among us as a baby, born in a common manger – no glitz, no lure to buy, no commercials. Rather, the loving gaze of Mary and Joseph, surrounded by stars, shepherds, angels, wise men and worship. This is true wakefulness.

What helps you stay awake?

Lord Jesus Christ,
You come to us
In the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Help me to be present to you –
To be with you,
To listen –
With the ears of my heart,
To hear you say: “Stay awake!”
Lead me in your way.
Amen

Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost: Week 28 in Ordinary Time

  • 11/12 Monday: Mark 13:1-13
  • 11/13 Tuesday: Mark 13:24-27,35-37
  • 11/14 Wednesday: Psalm 16
  • 11/15 Thursday: Daniel 12:1-3
  • 11/16 Friday: Hebrews 10:11-14,19-25
  • 11/17 Saturday: Mark 13:1-13
  • 11/18 Sunday, Mark 13:24-27,35-37