“Keep me as the apple of Your eye, hide me in the shadow of Your wings. But I in justice shall behold Your face; on waking I shall be content in your presence.” (Psalm 17:8,15)
Reflections on the readings for the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (November 6, 2022): 2MC 7:1-2,9-14; PS 17:1,5-6,8,15; 2THES 2:16-3:5; LK 20:27-38
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
We should think about death and all that will come after; not with fear, but with trust in our Risen Lord.
Today in the Scripture readings from 2 Maccabees and from St. Luke we are called to focus on the life that is to come after we die as well as at the Second Coming of Christ. In the second letter to the Thessalonians, in what is now Macedonia, we hear words of inspiration and support for a Christian community facing trials. They were experiencing some persecutions. And certain members of their church believed that the end of the world was already upon them. But, instead of fixating on these things, they are exhorted to remain loyal to Christ in all they did and to keep sharing their faith in Him with others. “May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through His grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word. … May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, 3:5). None of us, then or now, should let fear of death or anything else interfere with our love for God and our efforts to follow our Savior. We should think about death and all that will come after; not with fear, but with trust in our Risen Lord. Like Him, we, too will rise from the dead and rejoice in life everlasting. We will share the company of the Blessed Trinity and all our faithful sisters and brothers. Meantime, we must strive to remain faithful to Christ each day of our lives.
Whatever God asks of us, we need to ask Him for the courage to say, “Yes!” St. Thomas More, one in a long line of Christian martyrs, stood firm rather than give in to the selfish wishes of an earthly king. In the last letter he wrote to his beloved daughter Margaret, St. Thomas said: “Pray for me as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.” His final words express the essence of his willingness to accept death in service to Christ, the King of the Universe: “I die the king’s good servant, but God’s first.” We may never face martyrdom. But every day we do face choices, big and small. We need to embrace “the endurance of Christ.”
Suggested missionary action: Let us ask our Lord for the courage to make choices that will lead us ever closer to Him, whatever the cost. Let us pray for an ever deeper desire for heaven, rather than concentrating on the things of the world.