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    Ness Road Shoeburyness

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

Jesus paints quite a calamitous scene in the gospel today: wars and revolutions; earthquakes, plagues and famines; great signs from heaven. But that’s not the end of it, as Jesus then moves on to warn his disciples what might lay ahead of them; Christians will be persecuted, imprisoned and put to death…there will be betrayal among friends and family. When we think of it, Jesus’ prediction about the future wasn’t far out, and in various ways is evident today. Look at the various natural disasters, some of which, in the view of scientists, are due to global warming. And we also have the persecution of Christians, not just a thing of the past, but something that is going on today. On 27th November we will mark ‘Red Wednesday’ by remembering persecuted Christians at our 11:30am Mass (more details about that in a few weeks).

The reality is that our human existence is and will be plagued by disasters and difficulties, struggles and worry - we can’t ever escape that. The big question is how our Christian faith comes into play, if it does at all. Sometimes, what we think are firm anchors which hold us steady are shown up as insufficient in times of struggle. We often say, ‘you know who your friends are when things get tough’. In other words, things/people are tested as true or reliable when life goes wrong.

Thus, throughout the scriptures we are warned to be careful in regard to where we place our trust/confidence. Is it in things/an idealised lifestyle etc or is it in God? “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”. Psalm 20:7

I wonder how robust our faith would be in time of trial; would it cave or would it be resilient? Let’s heed Jesus’ exhortation in the gospel today where he says, “Stand firm, your endurance will win you your lives!”

Fr Brett

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