Liturgy of the Sunday

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Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time
World Day of the Poor


First Reading

Malachi 3,19-20a

'For look, the Day is coming, glowing like a furnace. All the proud and all the evil-doers will be the stubble, and the Day, when it comes, will set them ablaze, says Yahweh Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the Sun of justice will rise with healing in his rays, and you will come out leaping like calves from the stall,

Psalmody

Psalm 97

Antiphon

Shout and sing praises to the Lord.

Sing a new song to the Lord
for he has worked wonders.

His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation.

The lord has made known his salvation;
has shown his justice to the nations.

He has remembered his truth and love
for the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our god.

Shout to the Lord all the earth,
ring out your joy.

Sing Psalms to the Lord with the harp
with the sound of music.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn
acclaim the Kind, the Lord.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
the world, and all its peoples.

Let the river clap their hands
and the hills ring out their joy

at the presence of the Lord : for he comes,
he comes to rule the earth.

He will rule with the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

Second Reading

2 Thessalonians 3,7-12

You know how you should take us as your model: we were not undisciplined when we were with you, nor did we ever accept food from anyone without paying for it; no, we worked with unsparing energy, night and day, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to imitate. We urged you when we were with you not to let anyone eat who refused to work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living lives without any discipline, doing no work themselves but interfering with other people's. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we urge and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 21,5-19

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, he said, 'All these things you are staring at now -- the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another; everything will be destroyed.' And they put to him this question, 'Master,' they said, 'when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that it is about to take place?' But he said, 'Take care not to be deceived, because many will come using my name and saying, "I am the one" and "The time is near at hand." Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be terrified, for this is something that must happen first, but the end will not come at once.' Then he said to them, 'Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines in various places; there will be terrifying events and great signs from heaven. 'But before all this happens, you will be seized and persecuted; you will be handed over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and brought before kings and governors for the sake of my name -and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Make up your minds not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated universally on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your perseverance will win you your lives.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

The liturgical year is heading towards its conclusion and the liturgy urges us to reflect on "the last things," on the day "burning like an oven" that is about to come, as the prophet Malachi writes. Also the Gospel passage of Luke emphasizes the theme of the "end of times". But the eschatological language used by the evangelist is not to literally indicate the collapse of the buildings and the end of the earth, but rather that every time of life and history is decisive if inhabited by the faith of believers. We already, today, live a moment in which the "sun of justice" will burn us like straw or make us operators of a new day. Jesus takes his cue from the majestic beauty of the temple in Jerusalem which aroused pride and confidence in the disciples: in that splendid temple of marble and decorations they felt a sort of guarantee for their future and that of the people of Israel. But Jesus, with gravity, said: "As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another" (v. 6). The disciples, bewildered by this affirmation that also damaged their security, ask when all this will happen, perhaps thinking that, even if it had to happen, it would have happened in distant times. Jesus does not answer the question of the disciples, but tells them to be careful, not to be deceived and to be faithful witnesses to the Gospel.
There is no doubt that our times are serious: and every time in history actually appears to be described by the "signs" of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel: "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from" (vv. 10-11). These words are not projected towards a distant future. They describe the world today in which so many Christians are persecuted. Jesus says: "They will arrest you and persecute you" (v. 12). It is true, there are not many places on earth where Christians are persecuted, but there are, and in any case, there are plenty of persecuted (even if they are not Christians). We could read in this context the sad episodes of intolerance and racism that continue to rage in our cities. Today, in particular, its victims are the poor, to whom the Church dedicates this day, precisely to emphasize that they are, much more than the temple of Jerusalem, the place where the presence of God is manifested. And Christians have the opportunity "to testify" (v. 13) precisely in loving the poor. That is, in these upheavals the Gospel asks the disciples for a courageous and full testimony. This is not a time of adjustments and compromises, to save what can be saved. The Gospel needs to shine clearly on the face of Christians. In this sense we are living the "last times", the times in which we either burn like straw or we rise to a new day.