Sunday Bible Reflections
Jesus has a vision in this week’s Gospel: Satan falling like lightning from the sky, the enemy vanquished by the missionary preaching of His Church.
Sent out by Jesus to begin gathering the nations into the harvest of divine judgment (see Isaiah 27:12–13; Joel 4:13), the seventy are a sign of the continuing mission of the Church.
Carrying out the work of the seventy, the Church proclaims the coming of God’s kingdom. She offers His blessings of peace and mercy to every household on earth, “every town and place He intended
Jesus exaggerates in today’s Gospel when He claims not to know the day or the hour when He will come again.
He occasionally makes such overstatements to drive home a point we might otherwise miss (see Matthew 5:34; 23:9; Luke 14:26).
His point here is that the exact “hour” is not important. What is crucial is that we not postpone our repentance, that we be ready for Him—spiritually and morally—when He comes. For He will surely come, He tells us—like a thief in the night, like the flood in the time of Noah.
Week by week the Liturgy has been preparing us for the revelation to be made on this, the last Sunday of the Church year.
Jesus, we have been shown, is truly the Chosen One, the Messiah of God, the King of the Jews. Ironically, in today’s Gospel we hear these names on the lips of those who don’t believe in Him—Israel’s rulers, the soldiers, and a criminal dying alongside Him.
It is the age between our Lord’s first coming and His last. We live in the new world begun by His life, death, Resurrection, and Ascension, by the sending of His Spirit upon the Church. But we await the day when He will come again in glory.
“Lo, the day is coming,” Malachi warns in today’s First Reading. The prophets taught Israel to look for the Day of the Lord, when He would gather the nations for judgment (see Zephaniah 3:8; Isaiah 3:9; 2 Peter 3:7).
With their riddle about seven brothers and a childless widow, the Sadducees in today’s Gospel mock the faith for which seven brothers and their mother die in the First Reading.
The Maccabean martyrs chose death—tortured limb by limb, burned alive—rather than betray God’s Law. Their story is given to us in these last weeks of the Church year to strengthen us for
endurance—that our feet might not falter but remain steadfast on His paths.
Our Lord is a lover of souls, the Liturgy shows us today. As we sing in today’s Psalm, He is slow to anger and compassionate toward all that He has made.
In His mercy, our First Reading tells us, He overlooks our sins and ignorance, giving us space that we might repent and not perish in our sinfulness (see Wisdom 12:10; 2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus draws a blunt picture in today’s Gospel.
The Pharisee’s prayer is almost a parody of the thanksgiving psalms (see for example Psalms 30, 118). Instead of praising God for His mighty works, the Pharisee congratulates himself for his own deeds, which he presents to God in some detail.