This Sunday begins our final arc of the Liturgical Year as we finish where we started. We began this year in Advent (December 3, 2017 to be exact) in Mark 13. There we found Jesus had triumphantly entered Jerusalem, cleansed the temple of the pretenders that plagued it, and was teaching in the temple about the destruction that would come upon it and the coming of the Son of Man at the end of the age. The lesson was “be ready.”
This week we come upon Jesus as he’s teaching in the temple about the folly of the Pharisees and their desire for recognition in light of the self-giving of a widow who offers all she has for the Lord her God.
You may have noticed that most of our Gospel lessons this year have been in Mark. That’s because we’re on a three-year cycle of readings that follows this pattern: Year A - Matthew, Year B - Mark, Year C - Luke, with a healthy portion of John’s gospel mixed in the high holy days and various seasons of the year. So when Advent begins, we’ll start a new liturgical year with a new gospel as our focus, that of Luke. But the themes of Advent won’t change dramatically. We’ll begin at the end and work our way towards the birth of Christ where the overarching lesson remains “be ready”.