Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – The Second Coming of Christ

Siege of Jerusalem from the Arch of Titus (AD 82)
Siege of Jerusalem from the Arch of Titus (AD 82)

Central Idea: Our period of salvation history and how we are to live in it. Doctrine: The Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment. Practical Application: How to live in this age.

To view Lectionary 159, click here.

Central Idea: Our period of salvation history and how we are to live in it

Reading 1 Mal 3:19-20a

  • Malachi is an Old Testament prophet who foresees the Day on which God will judge everyone. God’s sun-like appearance will have a different effect on people depending on whether they are proud and doers of evil or whether they do God’s will. To some God’s appearance will be a burning fire and to others healing rays.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9

  • God will renew material creation and rule it and its peoples with justice. The result will be joy, even within and through non-personal beings. By our sharing in God’s life securely forever, we will give glory to God by being who we are: fully-alive and fulfilled human beings.

Reading 2 2 Thes 3:7-12

  • We live in this middle period of history between the Ascension of Christ and his Second Coming. What are we supposed to do? St. Paul insists on work and a life of virtue so as to support ourselves and not be idle busybodies.

Gospel Lk 21:5-19

  • Just as the beloved Temple of Jerusalem would soon be destroyed by the wrath of the Romans, so too everything in this life, as good as it is, is falling into ruin.
  • We are living in that period after the Ascension of Christ and before his Second Coming. Our time of history is filled with tumult.
  • We followers of Christ should always be ready to face persecution. When you are attacked for the good you do or the truth you hold, Christ himself will “give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute . . . [and] not a hair on your head will be destroyed.”

Doctrine: The Second Coming of Christ and the Final Judgment

  • “Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him” (680). The psalmist sees what it will be like when all things are subject to him: He will rule the world with justice and all creation will shout with joy.
  • “The triumph of Christ’s kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil” (680). When we face ultimate persecution, Christ will teach us what to say and nothing can ultimately hurt us.
  • “On Judgment Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history” (681). This is the Second Coming of Christ.
  • “When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace” (682). As Malachi foresees, Christ’s ‘revealing and rendering’ will be like a consuming fire for some and healing rays for others.

Practical Application: How to live in this age

  • Here is a little examination of conscience based on today’s readings
  • Do I fear God’s name? That is, do I put doing God’s will first?
  • Do welcome justice? That is, are my actions such that I have no fear of them being revealed?
  • Do I live an orderly life? Am I living the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance?
  • Do I work and keep busy, providing for myself and my family as best I can, while mind my own business?

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