Nov. 15, Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16:5, 8-11
2) Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Gospel: Mark 13:24-32
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
It is a 30-year tradition for my parish youth group’s annual weekend canoe trip: Before we leave the parking lot, I ask the group to keep their eyes open for signs of God throughout the trip.
Then, on the second night of the trip, sitting around the campfire after the melted marshmallow and chocolate have finally been licked off all our s’more-stained hands, we tell the stories of how and where we saw God.
Basking in the glow of the fire under a star-filled night, the wonder of the presence of God among us comes alive. We have found God in the turtles sunning themselves on branches or in the way someone helped others who seemed to spend more time in the river than in their canoe.
Sometimes the sign of God has been just in getting away from the busyness of daily life and listening to the crickets sing us to sleep.
That night always has been one of my favorite nights of the year, and it exemplifies perfectly the gift of wonder and awe in the presence of God. The idea of a sign from God usually comes to us in two ways. Either something happens that causes us to feel a need for a sign from God, or something we see or experience confirms for us the presence of God in our lives.
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus addresses these two aspects of God’s self-revelation when he says, “Learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, know that he is near, at the gates.”
Through this example, Jesus teaches us to pay attention to the created world because it reveals truth. But also, he implores us to prayerfully watch the things happening around us, for through them he reminds us that he is always near.
So whether a canoe trip, a cup of coffee with a friend, a typical day at work or any of a million other experiences in your life, be on the lookout for signs of God in your life. You may be surprised where he shows up.
What is a recent “sign of God” in your life? What is your favorite place to go to encounter God?