Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Tue, Nov 13, 2012

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Lectionary for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]
November 18, 2012

Daniel 12:1-3
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Mark 13:24-32

November 16: Anniversary of the deaths of the 6 Jesuits and 2 women at the University of Central America in El Salvador in 1989
November 16 to 18: Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice 2012 in Washington DC
November 22: Thanksgiving Day in the United States
November 25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women                            


God's people clung tenaciously to hope in the promise of an eschatological time when, in the fullness of salvation, peace and justice would embrace and all creation would be secure from harm. The people looked for a messiah, one whose coming would signal the beginning of that time. In their waiting, they heard the prophets call them to love according to the covenantal vision, to repent, and to be ready for God's reign.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Challenge of Peace, US Bishop’s Peace Pastoral, 36

May people learn to fight for justice without violence, renouncing class struggle in their internal disputes, and war in international ones.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         John Paul II, Centesimus Annus, 23

…there is a better understanding today that the mere accumulation of goods and services, even for the benefit of the majority, is not enough for the realization of human happiness. Nor, in consequence, does the availability of the many real benefits provided in recent times by science and technology, including the computer sciences, bring freedom from every form of slavery. On the contrary, the experience of recent years shows that unless all the considerable body of resources and potential at human disposal is guided by a moral understanding and by an orientation towards the true good of the human race, it easily turns against human beings to oppress them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 28

Violence puts the brakes on authentic development and impedes the evolution of peoples towards greater socio-economic and spiritual well-being. This applies especially to terrorism motivated by fundamentalism, which generates grief, destruction and death, obstructs dialogue between nations and diverts extensive resources from their peaceful and civil uses.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 29

Thoughts for your consideration

The social teaching of the church invites us to connect the scriptures with contemporary issues. Today we may want to reflect on that human behavior which seems to be contributing to a possible time “unsurpassed in distress.”
* One might reflect on the human damage to our environment caused by over-consumption in our consumer culture.
* One might reflect on the human behavior that is contributing to climate change.
* One might think about uncontrolled violence that seems to be unfolding in various parts of our world – suicide bombings, the use of torture, political oppression, etc. 
* One might reflect on the grave consequences to so many individuals and families of the   recession of the last four years and the housing crisis. 
* One might reflect on the economic injustice experienced by people in poor neighborhoods in our nation or by the poorer nations on the world.
* One might want to reflect on the damages and loss of life from the recent storm called “Sandy.”
* As we pray about the “end times,” we might reflect on the awesome destruction caused by war or the preparations for war. We might want to reflect on the damage that can come from nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, or excessive spending for armaments in the midst of so many human needs.
In short, we might reflect on the apocalyptic implications of the many examples of human behavior gone wrong.

The readings today also point to hope in the midst of the problems we face. “Those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.” “My words will not pass away.” The readings don’t have to leave us with just a sense of guilt or hopelessness.  Our social teaching offers us enduring values that give us hope in the midst of the social problems of our world.

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

A man was walking home late one night when he saw the Mulla Nasrudin searching under a street light on hands and knees for something on the ground. "Mulla, what have you lost?" he asked.
"The key to my house," Nasrudin said.
"I'll help you look," the man said.
Soon, both men were down on their knees, looking for the key.
After a number of minutes, the man asked, "Where exactly did you drop it?"
Nasrudin waved his arm back toward the darkness. "Over there, in my house."
The first man jumped up. "Then why are you looking for it here?"
"Because there is more light here than inside my house."

Actions - Links

Violence against Women
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Get information at  Get more info at    Check out “women thrive” at

Buy Nothing Day November 23/24
“For generations, Christmas has been hijacked by commercial forces … this year, teachers, occupiers, indignados and everyday people in over 60 countries are coming to the rescue of this cherished holiday with an entire month of de-commercializing, life-changing fun…  It all starts with a personal challenge: make a vow to yourself to participate in Buy Nothing Day this year … you just might have an unexpected epiphany!  Join millions of others on November 23/24 and see what it feels like to stop consuming for 24 hours.”

Sweatshop Labor and Cyber Monday

“Crazy Facts”

Violence against Women
An estimated one in every three women worldwide experiences violence, with rates reaching as high as 70 percent in some countries. Gender-based violence ranges from rape to domestic abuse and acid burnings to dowry deaths and so-called “honor killings.” Violence against women and girls — in peacetime and in conflict — knows no national or cultural boundaries.

Energy use
“No other century — no millennium — in human history can compare with the 20th for its growth in energy use. We have probably deployed more energy since 1900 than in all of human history before 1900. Very rough calculations suggest that the world in the 20th century used 10 times as much energy as in the thousand years before 1900 A.D. In the 100 centuries between the dawn of agriculture and 1900, people used only about two-thirds as much energy as in the 20th century …..  The average American in the 1990s used 50 to 100 times as much energy as the average Bangladeshi…”

Prayers of Intercession

Response: God, let us to lead the many to justice and become like the stars forever.
For an end to the violence and distress in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other troubled lands, we pray….
For an end to the craziness of building more weapons of war, violence, and mass destruction, we pray….
For an end to all the over-consumption that threatens to destroy our planet, we pray…..
For an end to our excess use of energy that leads to global warming and other harm to the earth, we pray….
For the beginning of the responsible use of our natural resources, we pray….
For the beginning of dialogue, conversation, and respect between the diverse peoples of our world, we pray….
For the beginning of a new era of peace and nonviolence, we pray….
For the economic justice for all those who are oppressed, we pray….

Prayer - Meditation
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.