Lectionary Reflections: Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time [c] November 17, 2013

Engaging Faith | Wed, Nov 13, 2013

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time [c]

November 17, 2013

Copyright © 2013, Center of Concern



Malachi 3:19-20a

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Luke 21:5-19



Nov. 16: Anniversary of the murder of the six Jesuits and two women in El Salvador

Nov. 16: International Day of Tolerance

Nov. 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Nov. 28: Thanksgiving



“May people learn to fight for justice without violence, renouncing class struggle in their internal disputes, and war in international ones.”

- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus


“We must repeat that the superfluous goods of wealthier nations ought to be placed at the disposal of poorer nations. The rule, by virtue of which in times past those nearest us were to be helped in time of need, applies today to all the needy throughout the world. And the prospering peoples will be the first to benefit from this. Continuing avarice on their part will arouse the judgment of God and the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foresee. If prosperous nations continue to be jealous of their own advantage alone, they will jeopardize their highest values, sacrificing the pursuit of excellence to the acquisition of possessions. We might well apply to them the parable of the rich man.  His fields yielded an abundant harvest and he did not know where to store it: But God said to him, ‘Fool, this very night your soul will be demanded from you . . .’ “(54)

- Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio


“The individual today is often suffocated between two poles represented by the State and the marketplace. At times it seems as though the individual exists only as a producer and consumer of goods, or as an object of State administration. People lose sight of the fact that life in society has neither the market nor the State as its final purpose.”

- Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus


“How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!”

- Pope Francis, March 16, 2013


Thoughts for your consideration

Difficulty, opposition, confusion, mess, uncertainty and ambiguity are all part of life.  Good religion does not guarantee that this will not sometimes be the case. Good religion does not remove all of the mess of life. However, today God says through Malacchi, “… for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.”  Jesus says, “by your perseverance you will secure your lives.”  In the challenges of our life, we can find God and God will lead us to what is right and just. In the challenges of society, we can find God and God will lead us to what is right and just.

With this vision of hope, we can challenge many of the voices of our culture, the voices of consumerism and materialism, the voices calling for control and domination of others,  the voices that call for more violence or military power, the voices of policies that refuse to consider the needs of the poor, the voices of discrimination and fear of different people, the voices that justify torture as a policy, the voices of racism and discrimination,  the voices that fill us with fear and prevent us from doing the good we want to do, and even the voices of hatred and violence.

We are invited to work for justice, even when it challenges the value system of our world or culture.  We are invited to overcome evil by love, war by peace, and selfishness by selfless giving.


While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here-- the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

So many things that human beings consider important are not really the most important.  Even the adornments of the temple will not last.  The gospel invites us to focus on what is really most important. We affirm the dignity of every human person. We affirm our desire to live in solidarity as brothers and sisters. We affirm our commitment to peace, justice, and nonviolence. We affirm our efforts to live in a way that makes sure that everyone shares in the bounty of God’s gifts. We affirm our desire to respect the gifts and resources of our planet and not abuse and overuse them. We affirm our commitment to the values of Jesus Christ.


Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

Share an example of a contemporary situation that has felt to you to be a time “unsurpassed in distress.”  How has your faith challenged you in this situation?  Has it challenged you to work for justice or peace?



Buddha was once threatened with death by a bandit called Angulimal.

“Then be good enough to fulfill my dying wish,” said Buddha. “Cut off the branch of that tree.”

One slash of the sword, and it was done! “What now?” asked the bandit.

“Put it back again,” said Buddha.

The bandit laughed. “You must be crazy to think anyone can do that.”

“On the contrary, it is you who are crazy to think that you are mighty because you can wound and destroy. That is the task of children. The mighty know how to create and heal.”



Actions - Links

Anniversary of the Murders in El Salvador

On Nov. 16, 1989, six Jesuits and two women were murdered in El Salvador at the Jesuit university for speaking up and acting for justice. They were killed by soldiers trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga. In the years before and after, more than 70,000 men, women and children were killed in the violence and struggle for justice in El Salvador. Each November, on the weekend before Thanksgiving, thousands of people gather at the gates of Fort Benning to protest the continued existence of this school (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). For info go to:


Jesuit Advocates

The Jesuit Conference in the United States encourages people to participate in legislative and corporate issue advocacy. The current programmatic and advocacy priorities of the Jesuit Conference include Africa, domestic poverty, and immigration.  To participate go to  and .


“Crazy facts”

“With New York City’s homeless population in shelters at a record high of 50,000, a growing number of New Yorkers punch out of work and then sign in to a shelter, city officials and advocates for the homeless say. More than one out of four families in shelters, 28 percent, include at least one employed adult, city figures show, and 16 percent of single adults in shelters hold jobs. 

Mostly female, they are engaged in a variety of low-wage jobs as security guards, bank tellers, sales clerks, computer instructors, home health aides and office support staff members. 

At work they present an image of adult responsibility, while in the shelter they must obey curfews and show evidence that they are actively looking for housing and saving part of their paycheck.”


Prayers of Intercession

Response: May the sun of justice shine in our world.

For an end to war and all the preparations for war, we pray…

For an end to terrorism and torture, we pray…

For employment with a living wage for all workers, we pray…

For an end to the radical economic inequality in our society, we pray…

For an end to racism and all forms of exclusion and discrimination, we pray…

For a new respect for our planet, we pray…

For a new commitment to the active nonviolence of Jesus, we pray…

For a new deeper prayerfulness and openness to God’s spirit, we pray…



God of life, help us to choose life, not death.

God of life, help us to respect, not destroy.

God of life, help us treasure, not control.

God of life, help us see our value not in things, but in your gifts.


God of life, beat our swords into plowshares,

Beat our spears into pruning hooks,

Replace our shopping sprees with celebrations of community,

Replace our busyness with contemplation,

Change our things into gifts,

Change our violence into your peace.

God of life, help us to choose life, not death.