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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Mark 13:24-32)
By Sr Veronica Lawson RSM
In the opening lines of today’s gospel reading, there are clear echoes of two passages from the prophecy of Isaiah. The first passage reads, “For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light” (Isaiah 13:10). These images from Isaiah read like an unravelling of God’s work in creation. The second passage likewise predicts a scenario that seems to reverse the Genesis creation account: “All the host of heaven [the constellations] shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall wither like a leaf withering on a vine, or fruit withering on a fig tree” (Isaiah 34:4). The prophet is using powerful poetic imagery to speak of God’s judgment on the people of Israel who have strayed from their covenant relationship.
The parallel images in Mark 13 are referenced to the aftermath of the “time of distress” associated with the destruction of Jerusalem, a time of intense suffering for the community of believers. Jesus tells his disciples that, after all their suffering, strange cosmic phenomena will signal his return in glory and usher in a new age for God’s people when the faithful will be gathered in. The message is intended to give comfort and hope to Mark’s persecuted community of the late sixties or early seventies of the first century. Just as the new leaves on the fig tree signal the approach of summer, so too will the strange signs in the heavens signal Christ’s coming and the onset of a new era, an end to the “time of distress”. The message is thus one of encouragement for the community as they face an uncertain future rather than one of judgment.
The strange apocalyptic imagery and the ancient cosmology that has Jesus returning on the clouds need not distract the modern and scientifically sophisticated reader from hearing the call to trust in God no matter what happens. This reading may remind some of us that the unravelling of God’s work is more than a poetic image in our times. The freak storms, the cyclones, and other signs of global warming we have seen might well serve as reminders to attend more carefully to the preservation of planet Earth. We may also hear a call to pay closer attention to what the “other-than-human” Earth elements can tell us about God and God’s ways.
Tim Winton’s memoir, Island Home, offers a contemporary reminder of who we are as planetary beings, of what we have done to our planet and of how attentiveness to land and landscape is integral to being who we are. The wild fig or the black-flanked rock wallabies, for instance, may be more eloquent teachers than we had ever realised.
Miriam McKoy’s funeral will be held on Monday 19th November at 11am at the Lourdes Retirement Village Chapel, 95 Stanhope Road, Killara.
Join us on Saturday 1st December at 3pm in the Rosary Room for the Rosary followed by afternoon tea. Children welcome.
Our children’s Christmas Mass is traditionally held at 6pm on Christmas Eve. This year we will be having our Christmas Play and Christmas Carols performed by the children of our Parish. If your child would like to participate, please add their name to the Christmas poster at the entrance to the Church. Rehearsals for Christmas Carols will take place during Kids Church in December, and there will be a single rehearsal for the Christmas Play on the weekend of 22/23 December after Mass. We encourage all children to be involved. If you have any questions, please contact Jane on 0477 017 726 or the Parish office.
We are delighted to announce that the Safeguarding Office has now released online training for its Induction program. Moving forward, all Parish volunteers will be asked to complete the two online training modules. This includes volunteers who don’t work directly with children, such as readers, Eucharistic ministers etc. The online training can be done in your own time and at home, uni or work and each module takes around 20 mins. Over the coming month we will be contacting all our volunteers via email with full instructions and how to access help if it is needed. For those parishioners who prefer to attend training in person, or who are without computer/internet access, there will be an onsite training session held at the Parish during January/February. Registration forms for the in-person training will be available shortly.
If you are a volunteer within our Parish, we sincerely appreciate the time and effort you contribute to our community. Unfortunately, we don’t always have your most up to date contact details, particularly email. If you are on a roster or volunteer regularly, can you please ensure Maria has your current phone number AND an email address if you have one. Thank you for your support.
Our tour guides would love to take you through the history of our mother church in Sydney on weekdays at 10am, 10.30am and a visit at 1.45pm or 2pm. Please contact the Cathedral office at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring (02) 9220 0400 to book your tour. Please note: minimum tour group numbers of 10 required; also no tours on Fridays as the Crypt can be closed at short notice.