By Sr. Margaret Proskovec, ND
Scriptures: Malachi 3:19-20a; Ps. 98: 5-6, 7-8, 9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19
Reflection: As I write this reflection, our nation is electing new leadership amid dire warnings much like those offered by the reading for our Sunday liturgies at this time of the Church year. The structures of our society, ancient nations, values of compassion and generosity, skills of negotiation, and the discipline of seeking deep understanding seem to be crumbling around us.
But in today’s liturgy, the prophet Malachi sets the tone of God’s word to us:
For you who fear my Name, there will arise
The sun of justice with its healing rays. [Mal. 3:20a]
Psalm 98 assures us that God comes “to rule the world with justice and the peoples with equity.”
Paul encourages the Thessalonians, and us, to stay true to the work entrusted to us and not be lured into the disorderly and harmful behaviors so popular with others.
In fact, Jesus says in Luke that we are to “stand erect and raise our heads” because we stand on the solid rock of God’s loving justice for the poor and oppressed. Even if we are criticized and even persecuted for standing with the neglected, abused, and outcasts of our time, ours will be a wisdom and strength that our Lord personally gives us. Our faith in the message of Jesus, our trust that God’s words are true, our commitment to love—like Jesus, no matter what—are our source of hope.
Sr. Pat Farrell, OSF, has said that “Our hope is in the absolutely uncontrollable power of God.”
The former Czech president, Vaclav Havel, who endured opposition, imprisonment, and persecution, remained a man of hope. He wrote: “Hope is not the expectation that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing, no matter how it turns out.”
Today’s readings call us to this kind of hope.
Prayer: Blessed Creator, we pray for the power to be gentle, the strength to be forgiving, the patience to be understanding, and the endurance to accept the consequences of holding to what we believe to be right. We pray for your grace to put our trust in the power of goodness to overcome evil and the power of love to overcome hatred. We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe in a world freed from violence, where fear shall no longer lead people to commit injustice or selfishness make them bring suffering to others. Amen. [Week of Prayer for World Peace, 1978]