Reflection: 18th November 2018

A Reflection for the Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

MK (  )

A number of us were joined by a fellow priest who had great devotion to St. Michael. He proudly showed us a picture of Michael, lance in hand, Satan in the form of a serpent at his feet, about to be pierced through. “Look at him”, he said, “crying out for mercy!” someone piped up, “But if he asked for mercy, that is what he would receive.’ Stunned silence! And then a bashful admission, “Gosh, you’re right.”

The same Michael is in the limelight in the extract from Daniel which we read at Mass this Sunday. He is depicted as our champion and guardian but the verses that follow talk of a time of great distress, unparalleled in history. Jesus too talks of days of distress in today’s gospel, the sun darkened, the moon losing its brightness, stars falling from heaven. Both readings are about the end of time. Scary stuff! Yes for some, but not for those on God’s side. Look at Daniel, “those who lie in the dust of the earth... will awake... to everlasting life ... those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as the stars for all eternity”. That’s good news for us all. And so too is the message from Jesus in Mark’s gospel: “... they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and gather his chosen from the four winds.”

Today’s scriptures are not intended to scare us; they are meant to encourage us. We have nothing to fear about the end of the world or the end of our time here on earth even if we are conscious of many sins in our lives. After all, if Satan were to beg for mercy, he would receive it. Will we not likewise receive mercy if we ask for it?

Myles Healy C.S.Sp. – Ordained in 1966, Fr Myles taught in Templeogue College for several years before moving to Kenya where he ministered for almost twenty years. A former parish priest in Greenhills, he is a member of the Spiritans’ Blackrock College community.