How to live before the Second Coming: Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

In this age, live an orderly and upright life, work quietly, and mind your own business.
In this age, live an orderly and upright life, work quietly, and mind your own business.

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

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven,
when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble,
and the day that is coming will set them on fire,
leaving them neither root nor branch,
says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear my name, there will arise
the sun of justice with its healing rays.

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

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

R. The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.

Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.

Let the sea and what fills it resound,
the world and those who dwell in it;
let the rivers clap their hands,
the mountains shout with them for joy.

Before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to rule the earth,
He will rule the world with justice
and the peoples with equity.

  • With the Second Coming of Christ, 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

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us.
For we did not act in a disorderly way among you,
nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day
we worked, so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right.
Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you,
so that you might imitate us.
In fact, when we were with you,
we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work,
neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a
disorderly way,
by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.
Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly
and to eat their own food.

  • We live in this middle period of salvation history between the Ascension of Christ and his Second Coming. What are we supposed to do?
    • Paul insists on hard work and a life of virtue so as to support ourselves and not be idle busybodies.
      • We are to act in an orderly way. To act in an orderly way includes working quietly, being self-supporting, and minding one’s own business.
    • This is particularly good advice for Christians living in a pagan world hostile to the faith. That is our modern world today.

Alleluia Lk 21:28

Stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.

  • No one on earth knows when the Second Coming will occur. However, every one of us should know that our moment-of-death particular judgment of either redemption or condemnation, based on how we have lived our lives, is “near at hand.”
  • If we are children of God, we should be upright in our conduct, aware of who we are, and filled with hope.

Gospel Lk 21:5-19

While some people were speaking about
how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings,
Jesus said, “All that you see here–
the days will come when there will not be left
a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him,
“Teacher, when will this happen?
And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?”
He answered,
“See that you not be deceived,
for many will come in my name, saying,
‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’
Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections,
do not be terrified; for such things must happen first,
but it will not immediately be the end.”
Then he said to them,
“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues
from place to place;
and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.

“Before all this happens, however,
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.
It will lead to your giving testimony.
Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand,
for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking
that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends,
and they will put some of you to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

  • Just as the magnificent and beloved Temple of Jerusalem would soon be destroyed by the wrath of the Romans, so too everything in this life, no matter how good, is falling into ruin.
  • We are living in that period of salvation history after the Ascension of Christ and before his Second Coming. Our time of history is filled with tumult. It is hard to imagine a period of history more violent and disordered than the 20th.
  • 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.”
  • “You will be hated by all because of my name.” If we love Christ–which means to assent to the truths he has revealed and imitate his behavior–we will experience persecution.
  • “But not a hair on your head will be destroyed.” We may face every kind of injustice, even execution, but faithfulness to Christ–which he himself will make possible–will lead to eternal life.

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” (CCC 680). In our reading, 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” (CCC 680). When we face ultimate persecution, Christ will teach us what to say and nothing can truly 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” (CCC 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” (CCC 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 I welcome justice? That is, are my actions such that I have no fear of them being revealed for all to see?
    • Do I live an orderly life? In other words, am I practicing the four cardinal virtues, enlightened by the Gospel and strengthened by grace:
      • Prudence (seeing what God wants me to do),
      • Justice (doing what God wants me to do),
      • Fortitude (courage and toughness when fear or weakness are obstacles to doing what God wants me to do), and
      • Temperance (self-control when some pleasure tempts me not to do what God wants me to do)?
    • Do I work and keep busy, providing for myself and my family as best I can, while minding my own business?

The Homiletic Directory recommends these Catechism points and themes for these Lectionary readings for the Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time:

  • CCC 162-165: perseverance in faith; faith as the beginning of eternal life.
  • CCC 675-677: the final trial of the Church.
  • CCC 307, 531, 2427-2429: human labor as redemptive.
  • CCC 673, 1001, 2730: the last day.






One response to “How to live before the Second Coming: Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C”

  1. Rebecca DeWitt Avatar

    thank you so much
    thank you again

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