Year C: 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Malachi 3: 19-20
The link between the First Reading and the Gospel are the words of foreboding followed by words of assurance.
Malachi sees the prospect of a day of reckoning - a day on which those who have done evil will be burnt away like stubble. Stubble-burning happens after the harvest - the grain and straw have been gathered and all that is left is stubble. This now serves no useful purpose and is burnt off or ploughed into the land to prepare it for a new crop.
So Malachi sees the fate of those who work against God. They have not borne fruit - and often have worked against those who have sought to. Their destruction will be complete - so that nothing is left to hinder the new growth.
This is a frightening prospect - fire can destroy what is good and useful too - and how can we know that those of us who try to live in Godís ways will not be caught up in the burning?
And Godís Word is sent to reassure us: ďBut for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing raysĒ.
As the grain in the fields needs the sun to ripen it to fruitfulness, so God promises that the sun of righteousness will shine on those who try to bear fruit for His kingdom.
What does it mean for me?
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