November 13, 2016 — Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
MAL 3: 19-20A; PS 98: 5-9; 2 THES 3: 7-12; LK 21: 5-19
Today’s readings are filled with predictions and warnings. In particular the Gospel from Luke that quotes Jesus about what we might expect if we truly strive to be His disciples and good stewards of His Word. Jesus says, “…they will seize and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.”
That all sounds grand and dramatic, but the truth is that Jesus is warning us of something far more subtle. If we truly strive and try to be the Lord’s disciples, we may well be persecuted not only by secular forces, but also by religious forces. The Lord’s point is that we must be prepared to endure and be patient.
The Gospel closes with Jesus saying, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” The whole idea of endurance and patience is a common theme for Jesus (and for St. Paul in his many letters as well). In the Gospel the original Greek word that we translate into “perseverance” is hupomone. The meaning of this word is not passive, not a patient waiting so to speak. We endure because of the promises of Christ.
It is these “promises” that give us the strength and hope to practice stewardship, to be good stewards. St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Without patience we will learn less in life. We will feel less. We will hear less. Ironically, rush and more usually mean less.”