XXXIII SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
daniel 12:1-3; hebrews 10:11-14, 18; mark 13:24-32
in the movie ben hur, director william wyler decided that, for the race at the end, charlton heston should drive the chariot himself rather than use a stunt double. heston agreed, and started chariot-driving lessons.
a week later, heston told wyler: «i think i can drive the chariot all right. but i’m not sure i can win the race.» wyler replied: «charlton, you just stay in the race, and i’ll make sure you win.»
we can feel with heston! given the situation of our lives and our world, we are not sure whether we can get through the race of life… forget about winning! to each one, GOD says: «you just stay in the race, and i’ll make sure you win.» this is the message of hope and consolation in the sunday readings.
but where is the message of hope? the first reading from the book of daniel and the gospel from mark predict disaster!
these are «apocalyptic» writings… symbolic and graphic descriptions that must not be understood literally.
further, the prophesied disasters signal the painful advent of a new age. after the catalogue of disaster comes the good news of hope: the book of daniel talks about a chosen group which will overcome the disaster, and lead many to justice; in the gospel, JESUS speaks about his coming in glory when he will «gather his elect» from all over. both readings see beyond suffering-persecution-distress to a future of peace, and disciples are to respond with faith and hope.
the LORD invites you and me to remain steadfast through the turmoil in our lives. will i stay in the race trusting that the LORD will stay with me and see me through? will i look beyond the tribulation, and respond with faith and hope?