Friday, November 27, 2015 ~ Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Holy Gospel: Luke 21:29-33 Jesus told his disciples a parable. “Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Meditation: Jesus used the image of a fig tree to teach his disciples an important lesson about reading the “signs of the times.” The fig tree was a common and important source of food for the Jews. It bore fruit twice a year, in the autumn and in the early spring. The Talmud (teachings and commentaries of the ancient rabbis on the Jewish Scriptures) said that the first fruit came the day after Passover. The Jews believed that when the Messiah came he would usher in the kingdom of God at Passover time. The early signs of a changing season, such as springtime, summer, or autumn, are evident for all who can see and observe the changes. Just so are the signs of God’s kingdom and his return in glory on the day of judgment. The “budding” of God’s kingdom begins first in the hearts of those who are receptive to God’s word. Those who trust in God’s word will bear the fruits of his kingdom. And what are the fruits of that kingdom? “The kingdom of God…is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). The Lord gives the first-fruits of his kingdom to those who open their hearts to him with expectant faith and trust in his word. We do not know the day nor the hour when the Lord Jesus will return again in glory. But the Lord does give us signs, not only to “wake us up” as a warning, but also to “rouse our spirits” to be ready and eager to receive his kingdom when he comes in all his power and glory. The “Day of the Lord” will strike terror in those who have ignored or rejected God, but it will be a day of joy and rejoicing for those who long to see the Lord face-to-face. The Lord Jesus wants us to be filled with joyful anticipation for his coming again.
Prayer: Stir up the will of your faithful, we pray, O Lord, that striving more eagerly to bring your divine work to fruitful completion, they may receive in greater measure the healing remedies your kindness bestows. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: While we wait for the Lord’s physical return in glory, we can know his presence with us through the work and action of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts, and by our constant and ongoing communication with him in prayer. The Lord Jesus comes daily and frequently to those who long for him and he speaks tenderly to our hearts. He comes to show us the way to our heavenly Father and to give us the hope of eternal life. Listen to him so that you may embrace him and follow him – and do so with love.
Scripture passages (NAB translation) courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops;
prayers are from The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing, 2011;
information about saints, solemnities, feasts and memorials courtesy of Catholic Culture.
The new Liturgical Year commences with the first Sunday of Advent, November 29.
In this new liturgical year, the Church not only wishes to indicate the beginning of a period,
but the beginning of a renewed commitment to the faith by all those who follow Christ, our Lord
and Savior. This time of prayer and path of penance that is so powerful, rich and intense,
endeavors to give us a renewed impetus to truly welcome the message of Christ our Savior.