Shikrot Mpwi – Sunday Synopsis with Fr. Justine J. Dyikuk
Thirty-third Sunday of the Year, C – Nov 13, 2022
Readings: Malachi 4:1-2a; Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:5-6,7-9ab,9cd(R.cf9cd);
2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Gospel Luke 21:5-19.
Theme: Danger of False Prophets!
The first reading reveals that at the end of time, God will punish the arrogant and evildoers by burning them up. In the second reading, St. Paul challenges the faithful to be industrious and ready for every kind of good work. In the gospel, Jesus discloses that nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom and earthquakes, plaques and famines will be associated with the coming of the Son of Man. In a nation of religiosity without corresponding righteousness, we are encouraged to beware of Churches without Christ, clerics without courtesy, collections without compassion, crusades without contemplation, followers without fidelity, flamboyance without fellow-feeling and fluency without fellowship.
Friends in Christ, as we prepare to round up the Church’s Liturgical Calendar, our readings speak to us about judgement, false prophesy and end-time realities. You would recall that in 2016, a strange cross, five feet long appeared to a 15-year-old girl by name Hajara Hussaini near a Mosque in Assakio, Nassarawa state while she was on her way to an errand by her parents. In the same year, a shining light appeared on the crucifix in St. Augustine Catholic Church, Nenger, in Makurdi, Benue State. Both Christians and Muslims felt that these were signs of the end time. Really? Well, despite these signs, Jesus insists that that no one knows when the Son of Man would return (Matthew 24:36).
Background and Summary of the Readings
The first reading (Malachi 4:1-2a) reveals what will happen at the end of time. It tells how God will punish the arrogant and evildoers by burning them up but for those who fear him, he would let the sun of righteousness shine upon them as he grants them healing.
In the second reading (Thessalonians 3:7-12), St. Paul challenges the faithful to be industrious and ready for every kind of good work following their good example. The reading presents St. Paul’s zero tolerance to laziness and how he urges all to embrace hard work to earn the food they eat. It surmises the theology of work by suggesting that through work, we can praise God.
The gospel reading (Luke 21:5-19) recounts the response of Jesus to some people who were talking about the temple, saying that it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings. It reveals how Jesus told them that everything would be destroyed. He further replied to the issue of when that destruction will take place with the warning about those who would use his name to insinuate that the end is near.
He disclosed that nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, plaques and famines here and there as well as other fearful sights and signs. He noted that the elect would be persecuted and imprisoned but assured that they should not worry about what to say because they would be given eloquence compared to none. He surmised: “…But not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.”
1. Beware of the End-time: Although our readings do not specify the day or the hour, the first reading and gospel reminds us that end-time is a reality which must be taken seriously if the Christian wants to reunite with Christ at the end of the time.
2. Resist False Prophets: Since our society is replete with fake pastors who go as far as suggesting to people that the world will come to an end so they should not work as was the situation in Thessalonica which we read in our second reading, we are warned to resist false prophets which the Jews often preferred than listening to Jesus, the Son of God.
3. Work for Your Salvation: Like the people of Thessalonica which Saint Paul tackled head-on in the second reading (2 Thessalonians 3:7-12), we are urged to remain faithful by going about working quietly and earning our food and seeking salvation as there is no food for a lazy man.
4. Beware of Fortune Tellers: The faithful are charged to differentiate between prophesy and fortune-telling which predicts the future as latter belongs to the school of false prophets – The contest at Mount Carmel between Prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal gives us a glimpse about the dirty deals of “Fake Prophets” (Cf.1 Kings 18:20-40).
5. Embrace the Sign of Jonah: The claims for miracles, call for crusades and establishment of mega camps as well as opening of miracle centres also belongs to “the school of fake prophesy” since they merely promise wealth not salvation – here, the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-45) which is the call to repentance is a recipe.
1. The first reading reveals what will happen at the end of time.
2. It tells how God will punish the arrogant and evildoers by burning them up.
3. In the second reading, St. Paul challenges the faithful to be industrious and ready for every kind of good work.
4. The reading presents St. Paul’s zero tolerance to laziness and how he urged all to embrace hard work.
5. Jesus discloses that nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom.
In conclusion, since no one knows the day nor the hour (Mark 13:32) because the Lord would come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2), we are called to embrace readiness and holiness. If both contemporary prophets and the faithful eschew laziness and seek true repentance, the lessons of today’s liturgy would have been learnt. If the faithful are properly fed and led to green pastures, trained contemporary prophets might no longer lose their voices in society and fake prophets will lose their relevance. Have blessed week!