Bible Group

Mass Readings for Sunday 17 November
The 33rd in Ordinary Time
St. Paul’s Bible Group, Paphos

First Reading:              Malachi 3:19-20

The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says Yahweh Sabaoth, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.

Comment

Malachi is the last book of the OT, it gets the name from its opening words: “The word of the Lord through Malachi,” which is the Hebrew word for “angel” sometimes translated as “messenger.” The message is the dreadful “Day of the Lord.” We now know that this is the Second Coming of Christ: Dies Irae, orthe day of wrath.”

In 1041 of the CCC we read: “The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them “the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation.” It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the “blessed hope” of the Lord’s return, when he will come “to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed.”

 

Responsorial Psalm:    Ps 97

Response:             The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

  1. Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
    with the sound of music.
    With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    acclaim the King, the Lord.                   Response
  2. Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
    the world, and all its peoples.
    Let the rivers clap their hands
    and the hills ring out their joy
    at the presence of the Lord.    
  3. For the Lord comes,
    he comes to rule the earth.
    He will rule the world with justice
    and the peoples with fairness.            

                       Response: The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Comment

St. Augustine comments on this psalm:  Make melody unto the Lord upon the harp: on the harp and with the voice of a Psalm. Praise Him not with the voice only; take up works, that you may not only sing, but work also. He who sings and works, makes melody with psaltery and upon the harp.

… The voice of the pipe of horn, what is it? The horn rises above the flesh … He who wishes to be a horn trumpet, let him overcome the flesh, let him surpass the desires, let him conquer the lusts of the flesh. Set your affection on things above, rise above the flesh, think not of carnal things.

Quoting St. Paul: “I could not talk to you as spiritual people, but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ. I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it, indeed you are still not able, even now.” (1 Cor 3:1-2)

 

Second Reading:          2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, 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 an example for you to follow.

We gave you a rule when we were with you: not to let anyone have any food if he refused to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.

Comment

Saint Paul says that the missionary has the right to be fed by the community for his work, but he considers necessary to give an example of hard work against the idleness of certain members who abuse the charity of their neighbors by pretending to be busy, impeding the work of others and eating for free.

Often, when Christians put their talents at the service of others, and teach their children to do so, nations can flourish in peace and prosperity. Man performs at his best when working for the glory of God and the good of all. Unfortunately, what is taught today is worse than idleness, it is selfishness! The goal of contemporary education is the acquisition of material wealth while the human formation of the individual is neglected and the consequences can be catastrophic as we can see around the world.   

Gospel  Acclamation  Lk 21: 36

Alleluia, alleluia!
Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to stand with confidence before the Son of Man. Alleluia!

Gospel:                              Luke 21:5-19

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus 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 this is about to take place?’

‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand”. Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’

Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.

‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are 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 by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.

 

Comment

Our Lord mentions here four different things which are important to separate.  

  1. The destruction of the Temple which took place when the city was under siege by the Romans in the year 70: “the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another…”
  2. Falsifications of Christ’s teachings: “Take care not to be deceived … many will come using my name saying … ‘The time is near at hand.’”
  3. Signs of the end: ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom… great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.”
  4. The great persecutions of the Church: “…men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors…

In 673 of the Catechism we read: “Since the Ascension Christ’s coming in glory has been imminent, even though “it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.” This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are “delayed”.                                                        (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

St. Gregory says: But that the end will not immediately follow these evils which come first, it is added, These things must first come to pass; but the end is not yet, &c. For the last tribulation is preceded by many tribulations, because many evils must come first, that they may await that evil which has no end. It follows, Then said he to them, Nation shall rise against nation, &c. For it must needs be that we should suffer some things from heaven, some from earth, some from the elements, and some from men.

Our Lord revealed to St. Faustina: Today I am sending you with My mercy to the people of the whole world. I do not want to punish aching mankind, but I desire to heal it, pressing it to My Merciful Heart. I use punishment when they themselves force Me to do so; My hand is reluctant to take hold of the sword of justice. Before the Day of Justice I am sending the Day of Mercy (#1588, Diary).