The words that our Lord speaks to his disciples in today’s Gospel reading are chilling; they are disturbingly applicable to our world. This talk about “signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars” may well have been a long-issued warning about the vengeance of nature that we are already beginning to experience in the form of climate change. We know what the Lord means when he speaks of the “dismay of nations,” for what can better describe our shock and helplessness at the escalation of meaningless violence all over the world?
The conversation between Pilate and Jesus that we hear about in today’s Gospel reading is significant. It is one of the very few occasions in the life of our Lord that he admits to being king. The Lord Jesus is usually quite reticent about this matter–not only out of humility, but also out of caution: Then as in today, kingship is easily stereotyped into the worldly type of kingship, where power is wielded and coercion employed.
This reflection is based on Mark 13:24-32.
I received my very first catechesis from an especially religious elder sister, who–rumors in the family had it–was a frustrated nun. For starters, she kept her own private altar in her bedroom–an elaborate traditional altar peopled with enough santos to give your regular fundamentalist a Catholic nightmare.
Because she was particularly devoted to Our Lady of Fatima, my sister made it a point to remind us constantly of the messages that had been relayed to its three visionaries, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco. These messages included the direst warnings about the end of the world, especially as described in the so-called “secrets of Fatima,” the third and last of which, at that time, remained chillingly undisclosed.
In our Gospel reading today, our Lord Jesus watches a poor widow pull out two small coins and drop them in the temple treasury. We are told that many rich people have put in much larger sums, but it is this widow that catches the Lord’s eye and moves his heart for her generosity–not any of the bigger donors.
This reflection is based on Matthew 5:1-12 on the occasion of the Solemnity of All Saints.
- the poor in spirit
- the mourners
- the meek
- those who seek justice
- the merciful
- the pure of heart
- the peacemakers, and
- the persecuted.