In the readings for Sunday, Nov. 18, we make our way to the end of the liturgical year, and the readings carry the theme of the second coming.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
“But the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.”
You are my inheritance, O Lord!
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer offering for sin.
“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory, and then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.”
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
It’s the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time — that means next week is the feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and then … Advent! The liturgical year is a mini-tour through salvation history. And as we come to a close of the year (First Sunday of Advent begins the new year), we hear the end of the story — even though we haven’t entirely gotten there yet. Our readings today have an eschatological (dealing with the end times and Christ’s second coming) tone to set us up for next Sunday. We are in the “end times” of the liturgical year and reflect on the “end times” of the world.
Our first reading from Daniel is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ coming. If you’ve ever read the Book of Revelation, this first reading should sound very familiar — John borrowed heavily from the major prophets. We believe that when Jesus comes again, it will be something like what Daniel expressed, and what John echoed. It’s excellent news for those who work for justice. We’re told that while others are afraid of the end, God’s people will, “be like the stars forever.”
The second reading continues from the last few weeks to talk about Jesus as our great high priest, and that the sacrifice he made is what makes the events in the first reading and Gospel possible.
The Gospel continues to let us know what to expect at the end. It will be a noticeable event. It will be a good event for those who are ready and have looked at the signs of the times and responded to them. Every generation says that the times we’re in now are so much worse (in some ways) than when they were growing up. Children are dealing with things their parents and grandparents never dreamed would have to be part of their lives. We must pay attention to what’s happening around us and respond with faith and justice — we are Jesus’ presence until he comes back — and he’s going to look for an account of each of us and what we did to make the world better … or not.
What do you think it will be like to meet God?
Are you worried about the end of the world? What do you think it will be like? What do you think God”s judgment will be like for those who worked for justice and for those who didn’t?
What are the “signs of the times” that I’ve noticed? What do they speak of? What am I called to do to respond to them as a Christian?
Today’s first reading is PERFECT for some lectio divina. The end times theme can be a little scary for kids (and adults), but when you look at Daniel’s words carefully, it takes the sting out. Take some family time today to really delve into today’s first reading (see the steps for lectio right below these words).
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”