Gospel Reflections

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mark 13:24-32

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Kathryn Webster

Published: November 15, 2015

Read Mark 13:24-32

Jesus said to his disciples: "In those days after that tribulation the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be... Read More…


As I sit here in the silence and beauty of the backyard of our Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Apopka, Florida, USA and reflect on the readings of November 15, I let the images provoked by these apocalyptic readings surface in my mind and heart. The images in the news are:

  • the body of the drowned baby washed upon the shore of the Mediterranean Sea,
  • a man in anguish as he peers into a pink body bag in Syria;
  • the chaos after a suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a market in Northern Nigeria;
  • the relatives and friends wrapped in each other’s arms after another mass shooting in a school in the United States;
  • the body of a man who only wanted a piece of land to farm and now lies crumpled in a pool of his own blood, after being murdered by the land grabber’s henchmen in Anapu, Para, Brazil.

What images come to your mind from your place in the world?

Then the two verses right in the middle of the Gospel stand out. These are the verses that speak of a dried up old fig tree, which is slowly being transformed with tender new life. I think of the guava tree in our backyard in Anapu: it looks absolutely dead, for a short period, with no leaves and then slowly light green leaves start appearing promising flowers and abundant fruit.

These verses provoke the following questions:
Where are the tender leaves? Where is the tender hope of new life?
It is in a boarder patrol guard seeing a child who caught on the fence in trying to cross to a new country and puts the boy in a place where he can indeed cross the boarder to follow his mother already on the other side. It is in Belgian high school children who visited people coming as refugees from Syria and said “Yes, we must welcome them,” and then made this their project. It is a couple who in the struggle for land suffered persecution, discrimination, violence and prison but who stayed in the struggle until all their children were settled on the good, rich soil of Para, Brazil.

This is the word of God that does not pass. Where else is the word of God? Where do you see it in your life? In your situation?

Sometimes in the death and destruction that bombard us in so many ways, it is hard to see gentle, tender new life. Let us pray together…for each other… that our sight may become ever keener, and that we are able to follow that vision.

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