The new Church year begins with a plea for God’s visitation. “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,” the prophet Isaiah cries in today’s First Reading.
In today’s Psalm, too, we hear the anguished voice of Israel, imploring God to look down from His heavenly throne—to save and shepherd His people.
Today’s readings are relatively brief. Their language and “message” are deceptively simple. But we should take note of the serious mood and penitential aspect of the Liturgy today as the people of Israel recognize their sinfulness, their failures to keep God’s covenant, their inability to save themselves.READ MORE
The Church year ends today with a vision of the end of time. The scene in the Gospel is stark and resounds with Old Testament echoes.
The Son of Man is enthroned over all nations and peoples of every language (see Daniel 7:13–14). The nations have been gathered to see His glory and receive His judgment (see Isaiah 66:18; Zephaniah 3:8). The King is the divine shepherd Ezekiel foresees in today’s First Reading, judging as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.READ MORE
The day of the Lord is coming, Paul warns in today’s Epistle. What matters isn’t the time or the season but what the Lord finds us doing with the new life, the graces He has given to us.
This is at the heart of Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel. Jesus is the Master. Having died, risen, and ascended into heaven, He appears to have gone away for a long time.READ MORE
According to marriage customs of Jesus’ day, a bride was first “betrothed” to her husband but continued for a time to live with her family. Then, at the appointed hour some months later, the groom would come to claim her, leading her family and bridal party to the wedding feast that would celebrate and inaugurate their new life together.
This is the background to the parable of the last judgment we hear in today’s Gospel.READ MORE
Though they were Moses' successors, the Pharisees and scribes exalted themselves, made their mastery of the law a badge of social privilege. Worse, they had lorded the law over the people (see Matthew 20:25). Like the priests Malachi condemns in today's First Reading, they caused many to falter and be closed off from God. In a word, Israel's leaders failed to be good spiritual fathers of God's people.READ MORE