Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Rosalino Reyes Dizon)

Ross Reyes DizonHomilies and reflections, Year BLeave a Comment

Author: Rosalino Reyes Dizon .

A native of the Philippines, Ross Reyes Dizon lives with his wife, Melody, in Vallejo, California. They are the parents of two grown-up sons, Vincent and Justin, and grandparents of 19-month old Maximilian Frédéric. Ross has been posting Sunday readings reflections to various Vincentian web sites, including this site.

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Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching (Heb 13:9–NABRE)

The destruction of the temple having been predicted, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Jesus, “Tell us, when will this happen?”  It is not at all impossible that they consider themselves deserving of a special revelation due to their seniority.

It is likewise possible that the private question of the very first disciples may come from a bit of fear that what happened to the prophets of Baal may happen to them.   Though these prophets shouted repeatedly all the while hopping, they got no response whatsoever.  Those called early in the morning who have borne the day’s burden and the heat will have, in my opinion, the most interest in getting right the signs and in receiving a solid guarantee that everything will be fulfilled, and that they will not end up being the most pitiable people of all.

But the less doubtful of the conjectures is the one that attributes the question to the first Christians.  Dragged out of their homes and put in prison for dissenting from those who seek, among other vanities, seats of honor in synagogues, or expelled from the synagogues and persecuted by those who have the responsibility over official worship, these first Christians ask when will the kingdom of God be established fully and once and for all, which will spell their liberation from distress and sin as well as their rising up to eternal life.  The question is asked in the spirit of the Psalmist who time and again cries out, “How long, Lord?” and of the Suffering Servant who cries out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

In effect, the distressed Christians plead with God to stretch out his arm and deliver them from their hardships.  Like Jesus and with him, they sing a hymn of anguish and praise (Ps. 22); they continue to put their trust in God, notwithstanding their seeming despair, and commend their spirit into the hands of the Father.  They rely only on their Teacher’s assurance:  “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”  Accepting the teaching that “of that day or hour, no one knows …, but only the Father,” they do not let themselves get carried away by the deceits and hypocritical appearances of the arrogant who claim to be inerrant and privy to God’s secret designs.  What is important to them first and foremost is the revelation of the Son of Man coming “with great power and glory.”

And the first Christians remain steadfast in the clear and incontrovertible teaching of the Gospel that when the Son of Man comes, the one who-is-like-God that saves indeed, he will reveal himself as the poor and insignificant brother or sister who shall have been either welcomed by those who will be called blessed or ignored by those who will be called accursed.  That is why they waste no time helping the widows, the pregnant women and the nursing mothers, the orphans and the aliens in their affliction, and cherishing them as their masters—to use St. Vincent de Paul’s words—and looking even for the poorest and the most abandoned .  They know that there is no other and better day or time to prepare for Christ’s encounter than today and now.

In the breaking of bread, therefore, the disciples recognize that the turning of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ points to the poor being the sacrament of Christ, and that their metanoia now is a pledge of the change they will see in the future, when the Lord returns.

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