33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time


By Maria Di Paolo

The cold weather reminds us of the coming of winter: the leaves have fallen, plants have died down, birds have flown south to warmer climates and other creatures have gone into hibernation until the spring.  The last weeks have seen a flurry of activity as God’s creatures prepared for the long nights, short days, and freezing weather that bring another cycle of life to a close.  We city dwellers are somewhat immune to the change in season, but it is not so long ago that our ancestors would have had to adjust their lives to the dead days of winter while they looked forward to the next spring and the renewal of life.

Our liturgical year is also patterned after the same natural cycle of new life, growth and death: from Advent and Christmas, through the Easter season, and the birth of the Church, to the latter part of the year when the readings become more introspective and focus on the “end times” and death.  November is often referred to as the “month of the dead” starting with Feast of All Souls on November 1, and All Saints on November 2.  During November we keep a Book of the Dead in the church in which we write the names of dead family members and friends and we pray specially for those who have died and gone before us.

The Gospel readings in November come from the latter part of Luke, after Jesus’ final entry into Jerusalem before his Passion.  The stories presage destruction and death, but there is also hope of new life through the Resurrection and the coming of the Son of Man.