Reflection: Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Mal.3:19-20; Ps.97; 2nd Reading – 2Th.3:7-12; Gospel – Lk.21:5-19]


The gospel today is once again connected to the Temple. We are told that there were some who were talking about the Temple and its decorations i.e. about the fine stonework and the votive offerings. Now, we are not told who those doing the talking were other than a general “some”.

However, it does not really matter “who” they are. What matter is that they are talking about the external and visible things of the Temple whilst forgetting the most important thing i.e. that the Temple is the dwelling place of God. One can understand why their admiration did not find much sympathy from Jesus to which Jesus stated that what they were admiring “was to be destroyed”.  This statement of the destruction of the temple by Jesus sparked their interest because they then asked Jesus “when” was this to happen and “what sign” would there be as an indication that this destruction would take place. Instead of giving a direct answer to their question, Jesus gave them a more elaborate response by asking them to take care “not to be deceived”. His answer is quite interesting because these “admirers of the Temple” they too have been deceived. Jesus is trying to tell them that it is not what things seem to be that mattered, but what they really are that matters: it is not the external visible things that are seen, but the internal (and sometimes invisible) ones which are not seen that are the most important in life. The external decorations should simply be an aid to lead them to understand the importance of what it stands for and therefore what is contained in the Temple i.e. God himself.

Jesus is warning his interlocutors that many things can deceive them such as people presenting themselves as “saviours” and prophesying about things that happened or that are to happen: natural phenomenon that might frighten them and other phenomenon that are not really natural but provoked by men (here Jesus mentions the wars and battles and fearful sights and signs). Jesus also mentions conspiracy and betrayal between family members… leading each other to death – Jesus is warning his interlocutors to be vigilant and not be deceived.

But Jesus is also telling them that if they are to follow him seriously, they will find themselves in difficulties because of his name… but… he is telling them “do not be frightened” and “Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict”. In other words, Jesus is inviting them to let themselves into his trust and care and in doing so is one of the ways through which they can give witness of him.

“Lord, sometimes when we see the chaos around us, we get frightened and forget about your words and assurance. Help us to be always conscious of your presence in our life!”



Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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