Reflection for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
I would like to begin my reflection for this weekend with the real question of the believers at the end of the first century: “Now that many of these things have happened and we are being persecuted, what should we do?” Luke reminds them of Jesus’ assurance that they were not to prepare their defense ahead of time for, “I myself shall give you a Wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute,” but to make use of this opportunity to bear witness to Jesus before the court officials and the public at large. Thus, the persecution would become a massive evangelization. Jesus cautions them against despair in the face of wide-ranging opposition and persecution. Arrests would be followed by trials and condemnation in religious (Jewish) and civil (Gentile) courts. Their Faith would serve as a clear witness on the Day of Judgment. Not only would the individual martyrs see the Lord in Heaven, but the Church would flourish in persecution.
We need to attain permanence in a passing world by leading exemplary lives. Our homes, our Churches and even our own lives are temporary. All our structures are provisional. Our influence has no more claims to permanence than our buildings. Hence, our task is not to build monuments of any kind, but to be faithful to Christ. How our faithfulness is expressed each day is the most important thing. We are to persevere in our Faith, despite worldly temptations, attacks on religion, and moral values by the atheistic or agnostic media, threats of social isolation, and direct or indirect persecution because of our religious beliefs. Let us conclude this Church year by praying for the grace to endure trials patiently for they are essential to our affirmation of Jesus our Savior.
After over a month with my sick brother Matthias in Poland, I am back. May God bless all of the people who truly took care of the parish while I was away; Deacon Lawrence, Colleen Biddinger, together with the whole staff. I would like to also thank all of you for your daily sacrifices, prayer cards, offered Masses and multiple prayers lifted up for my brother and my family. On behalf of my brother, and the whole family, we all truly appreciate them. It was a blessing for me to be with my family during this very challenging time. And even if we as a family still don’t know what the outcome of that situation will be, we trust God, and we will not stop praying for God’s healing for Matthias. Jesus, we trust You! May Your Will be done.
I want you to know that between Nov 14th – 18th I will be gone again. I know, just came back and will be gone again!? This time I am going to Melrose, Canada, where, together with my religious brothers we are going to have our annual priest retreat. Please pray for us that our retreat will be fruitful. That we find a new strength and enthusiasm to serve God and His people, but also that we renew our relationship as brothers of the same religious community.
There will be no confession before Mass this week.
Have a blessed week. Fr. Tom