As the Church’s year draws to a close, the readings this Sunday speak both of endings and eternal beginnings. All of them offer hope and direction to communities living in the midst of turbulent change and uncertainty.
The Prophet Daniel in the First Reading offers hope of resurrection to a people facing persecution for their faith.
The Psalm is a song of confidence in God as a refuge and shelter. It would have been sung and prayed by those facing sickness and death, and by their loved ones. These comforting words speak of a joyful life when we keep close to the Lord, even in the midst of our difficulties.
In the Second Reading, the early Christian community is taught that there is no longer a need for the ancient priestly practice of offering sacrifices for the forgiveness of sin. Christ is our one Eternal Priest and offers us a life of forgiveness and freedom from the burden of sin.
Jesus is preparing his disciples for a time of loss, tribulation, change, and ultimately the new life of Resurrection (Gospel). Although dramatic change will soon fall upon him and the disciples, Jesus’s teaching also reminds us that it is the nature of our world always to be facing moments of death and resurrection. The eternal words of Jesus will never pass away, and these are our comfort and refuge for the uncertain times we live through now.
This week, let us pray for each other, that we will forever keep the Lord in our sight. May we be living signs of Christ’s love and forgiveness in our world, and may we face these challenging times with confidence.