Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time: Nov. 20 - 26, 2005
Alexander, Andy, S.J.
Collaborative Ministry Office
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The Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time This Sunday is the Thirty-Fourth or Last Sunday in Ordinary Time and The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. The readings are filled with wonderful images of the shepherd, caring gently for his flock. In the Gospel of Matthew we hear the beatitudes and the powerful image of the last judgment and the sheep being separated from the goats - those who have cared for "the least of my brothers" separated from those who have not.Monday is the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tuesday is the Memorial of Saint Cecilia. In the United States Thursday is Thanksgiving Day and in the rest of the world, the Memorial of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his companions, 117 martyrs of Vietnam.The first reading this last week of the liturgical year is from the Book of Daniel. These apocalyptic and mystical readings were written to give encouragement to the Jewish people in the face of persecution.The stories in the Gospel of Luke this week offer a look at the meaning of generosity as the poor widow offers her two small coins. Jesus cautions against those who will come in his name promising salvation: "Do not follow them!" The cost of following his teaching is made clear, "You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed." In a dramatic look at the end time, echoing the Daniel readings, Jesus says, "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory."The special Thanksgiving readings in the U.S. from the Gospel of Luke remind us of gratitude as one of the ten lepers who has been healed returns to thank Jesus. "Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"The week ends with stories of the fig tree buds being an obvious sign of spring just as Jesus' presence is an obvious sign of the Kingdom of God at hand and a caution not to let our hearts be sidetracked by the pleasures and anxieties of daily life. "Be vigilant at all times."Sunday begins the First Sunday of Advent with the image of the master who leaves his servants in charge while he is away. Be watchful! Be alert!