From the Deacon’s Desk:  Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts

November 14 – Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

At first glance, our readings this week can be quite jarring as they seem to talk about doom and gloom.  They talk about distress, darkness, collapse, and times of tribulation.   These readings though, are actually about hope – the hope of Jesus Christ!  The writers of both Daniel and Mark’s gospel are speaking to a people who have been facing these very challenges.  They speak to us as well, for even today we find ourselves increasingly faced with a society that is hostile to our values and beliefs.  The pandemic has created times of uncertainty financially, emotionally, health wise and spiritually. We do not know what tomorrow is bringing as a nation or individually.  It can be scary!  Especially for those of us who like to be in control.

Mark’s intention though, isn’t to frighten us into submission, but to give us hope and confirm the hope of Jesus Christ.  These readings reveal God’s plan and final purpose for us.  Pain and suffering will not have the last word.  Persecution and hatred will not have the last word. The weak, the vulnerable and the poor – including us – will not be held down! Satan will not have the last word!  We do not know when the end time is, but we do know the way to salvation.  For we know with certainty that Jesus is victorious and has opened the doors of salvation for us.  Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life.”  We are to follow him.  He is made present and evident through us and our actions.  When we follow God’s call and His word through our actions, we help to usher in the second coming.

The vision we hear in our readings involves our participation.  God chose prophets to call people back to just living and the cause of righteousness.  Jesus called the apostles and disciples to go out to announce God’s Kingdom rooted in love; to heal people’s hurts, and to reconcile enemies.  The readings call us to faith, trust in God AND following where God leads us.  Our second reading reinforces that Jesus is our model and salvation – nothing more is needed.  We hear in Daniel, “Those who lead many to justice will shine like the stars forever.”  This is where the readings about the end of time become less about something we hope will be in the far future, and more about the way that we are living our faith now.  We need to lead the many to justice.  We are called to lead others to justice.  We are called to help them see His Presence in our actions, our care for the poor, the struggling, the sick, and all who are dependent on our compassion.  We are called to live our faith, reflecting the love of Christ here and now, that we might shine like the stars.

As Vincentians, people who are struggling, people who are in need, people who are frightened come before us every day. Jesus calls us to make his Truth, his Mercy, and his Hope visible to all.  He comes for us in power and glory to provide us the strength and wisdom if we will but faithfully follow him.  He gives us his angels and saints to guide and defend us.  Do I trust in God’s will, and the victory of Jesus over demonic evils?  Do I let my prayer life form my actions and lead me to compassion and mercy for the poor and struggling?   How do I make the victory of Jesus evident to those I encounter every day?

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.  Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil; spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.  We pray all of this in your name.  Amen

Deacon Mike