33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

WE ARE NOT EXEMPT

By Chris Valka, CSB

As we come to the end of the liturgical year, we become more aware that everything is temporary. The warm, sunny, full days of summer have turned barren as the winter cold sets in. What was once full of life and color is seemingly lost. These physical signs echo the spiritual life. In our Gospel, Jesus speaks of the temple – all that you see here – the day will come when not one stone will be left unturned. In the scriptures, the temple is often a metaphor for our own lives, so the message is not one for the past, but the present. Jesus is telling us that the day will come when God will seem to disappear; when Jesus will be silently in the grave; when our prayer seems dry and barren.

Perhaps in our marriage, our employment, our vocation, our environment – in some way – for reasons quite unexplainable to us – the lives we have worked so hard to build – the ideals we have tried so hard to hold on to – they will all come down not leaving one stone unturned. So how are we to respond? Do we journey through life filled with anxiety as we wait for misery to strike? No, for Jesus tells us that we cannot prepare for what may come, but we are to trust that we will be given all that we need for the moment. And herein lies the question and the lesson: In what do we put our trust? Is it in the temple of our lives that we have built? In our accomplishments, our abilities, our relationships? Or is it in God?

We all know what we would like to say, but can we truly say it? You cannot until you have lived it. You cannot rehearse these moments. You cannot confidently say you trust in God until you have nothing left of your own making to trust. Real trust is all or nothing. But the good news is that as hard as trust is, it is always worth it. So be strong and have faith. It all came down around our ancestors and we stand here as evidence that it all rose again. We are not exempt from this story.

Sunday’s Readings:

Malachi 4.1-2

2 Thessalonians 3.7-12

Luke 21.5-19