Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

This past week there has been a lot of talk about climate change and we have seen dramatic and colourful images on different programmes of what will happen in our big cities, if we don’t act now. As we approach the end of the liturgical year, the words and images of today’s gospel are reminiscent of the words and images of these pictures and images that we have seen over the past week. Jesus portrays for us graphically the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. For Jews the destruction of these two landmarks was equivalent to the end of the world. The Church uses this passage not as a scaremongering tactic but invites us to reflect on that moment when the world as we know it will pass away. How prepared will we be for that moment when it comes? Let’s choose one aspect of our Christian life: our love. How loving are our thoughts? How judgemental are we in our thoughts about other people. Do we tend to pass judgement on other people, judgement that is often unfair and unkind? There’s a peanuts cartoon that shows Charlie Brown and Linus standing side by side. Charlie is looking at a drawing that Linus has just made. I’ve seen you’ve drawn the man with his hands behind his back. That shows you are insecure. Linus replies. I didn’t put his hands behind his back because I am insecure. I did it because I can’t draw hands. That story makes us ask ourselves, do we tend to read into situations? Do we tend to judge others recklessly, as Charlie did Linus in that cartoon? How loving are our words? Do we use our speech to talk about the faults of others? Do we use it to gossip about other people? Three nuns on a train had been getting to know one another and decided to tell each other what their greatest sins were. The first nun says, “My greatest sin is sex. Every year I go out for a week and work as a prostitute. Of course, I put all the money I earn into the poor box.” The second nun says, “My greatest sin is drinking. Every year I take the money from the poor box and go out drinking for a solid week.” The third just sits there quietly. So the first nun says to her, “Come on, we’ve told you our worst sins. Now you have to tell us yours.” The third nun says, “My greatest sin is that I gossip, and I can’t wait to get off this train!” Do we use our speech to gossip about others? How loving are our actions? Do we go out of our way to help other people? How many times have you gone out of your way this past week to help other people? And so we return to our original question. How prepared will we be at the end of the world to meet Jesus or at the end of our lives whichever comes first? If I were to meet Jesus right now how prepared would I be in those three areas – out thoughts, our words, and our actions? Let’s close with a prayer: Lord, give us a mind that will think thoughts that are kind and fair. Give us lips that will speak words that are true and charitable. Give us hands that will do deeds that are modelled after the ones you did for people in you own lifetime.