And so the end of the current liturgical year is, indeed, in sight. This coming weekend brings us to the penultimate 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time leaving only the 34th Sunday, the Solemnity of Christ the King on the calendar before a new year of grace begins with First Sunday of Advent.
Apocalyptic texts like Sunday's gospel (Luke) are typical of the end of the church year. A text like this is not intended as a prediction of things to happen centuries later but rather stands as an interpretation of a present crisis. For believers, the end of the first century had its own crises - and for us at the beginning of the 21st century, crises are always at hand. In any century, Christ is the rising sun in whose rays we find healing. Malachi's blazing oven (the first reading) will consume all those save those delivered by the "sun of justice." Although we're still a month and a half away from Christmas, it in the Wesley's carol, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" that we will find this same image:
Risen with healing in his wings
Light and life to all he brings,
Hail, the Sun of Righteousness!
Hail, the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
The second reading is again from 2 Thessalonians with Paul instructing his readers on how Christians are to live as they await the coming of Christ.
You'll find that spending some time with these texts and the commentary on them will be a great assist in understanding them when they're proclaimed at Mass this weekend. Texts and commentary here and, if you're bringing children to Mass, hints for helping them prepare to hear the Word right here.
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