Homily for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, (B), November 18, 2018:
Daniel 12:1-3; Psalm 16:5-11; Hebrews 10:11-14,18; Mark 13:24-32
By Father Scott Karnik
Jesus is coming again. He has promised it. It will happen. We don’t know when. That is the main message from today’s readings. It fits into what was said last week about faith in Jesus’s once-and-for-all sacrifice for our sins.
In today’s reading from Hebrews, the author again tells his readers about Jesus’s superior priesthood and His superior sacrifice, compared to the Levitical priests. Consequently, the author tells his church that their Christian faith is superior to Judaism, so stay in the Christian faith. He says the multiple sacrifices are ineffective because they must be repeated. Christ’s once-for-all sacrifice has an eternal effect. The author concludes that Jesus mediates a new covenant which achieves something the Levitical priests cannot: forgiveness of sins. The best the Levitical priests can do is atone for sins. Jesus accomplishes the inner transformation of the sinner, just as Jeremiah prophesied (Jer 31:31-34). Jesus’s sacrifice forgives us our sins, cleanses our souls, and our consciences of guilt and engraves His law in our souls. Once Jesus has made that singular sacrifice, He sits down, on His Throne, at the Father’s right hand. That indicates completion. That indicates Jesus waits for His next task: to return to earth in glory, “…to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him”(Heb 9:28).
The Book of Daniel describes the tribulation of the end times. It will result in the vindication of God’s elect. To “vindicate” means “to lay claim to (“they are mine”; “no one shall snatch them out of my hand”(John 10:28). The dead will be raised to everlasting life or shame, in accordance with their deeds. This promise of individual resurrection is unprecedented in the Old Testament. The distress at the end will be unprecedented. So will the eternal bliss that follows.
St. Mark’s Gospel quotes Jesus’s description of the end times. St. Mark writes of an apocalypse of unprecedented trial, tribulation, and turmoil. In the midst of that, the glorious “Son of Man” will come “in the clouds with great power and glory,…”(Mark 13:26). This a consoling scene in the midst of the unprecedented end times tribulation. St. Mark predicts God’s final victory over whatever darkness will envelop his Christian followers by quoting Jesus’s description of the end. Jesus turns this apocalyptic language towards Jerusalem, to condemn its pagan ways and predict its destruction. This happened in 70 A.D. The Temple has not been reconstructed since. But Jesus also identifies Himself with the “Son of Man” and He will be enthroned with the Father and receive a worldwide kingdom and everlasting dominion. This oracle foretells Jesus’s heavenly ascension and His second coming in glory at the end of time. We don’t know when that will be. Jesus makes that very clear, even saying He doesn’t know. Only the Father does because the Father has established that day and time by His Own authority, no one else’s.
We won’t know when. Jesus Christ’s Second Coming in glory has been imminent since His Ascension into Heaven. Right now is a time of the Holy Spirit for us and witness. Because of that, it is also a time of distress and a time of evil that will even attack Holy Mother Church Herself. That’s in the Catechism, #672. It brings the struggles of the last days. Remember also, that the glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended in history until His recognition by all of Israel. For a hardening has come upon part of Israel (Acts3:19-21; Rom11:15). We must wait. We must watch. We must be ready.
February 12, 2017
October 23, 2016
October 2, 2016