33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
Malachi 3:19-20; Psalm 98:5-6,7-8,9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12; Luke 21:5-19
BY YOUR PERSEVERANCE YOU WILL SECURE YOUR LIVES
▪Dear friend, as we draw closer to the end of the liturgical year, the Church wants us to think about the end. In the readings of this Sunday liturgy there are many imageries that remind us about the end.
~ In the gospel, people were praising the beauty of the temple, the Lord spoke about the destruction and end of the temple. (C.f. Luke 21:6)
~ This aroused the attention of those who were there that they began asking the normal question we all would ask: “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” (Luke 21:7).
~ His first response is, ‘Take care not to be deceived.” When people use His name to do wonders or preach lies, be careful. It is because many are deceived that they look for men and women who will tell them “when” something will happen.
▪We are more curious about “when” than “where”. The reason why we are more interested in when is because of the uncertainty of our time here. If we know “when” we will be called back home, we will actually choose “where” we would like to die.
▪Fortunately, we never know when it will be, this is why we cannot choose how or where to die. What is this calling us to do? To be persistent always, for this is the only way to handle the question of “when”. “We must have our eyes set on Heaven, our ultimate and permanent homeland.” F. Fernandez, In the, Vol. 5, p. 484.
▪In the first reading, the Israelites where facing difficulties in their history that some were even spreading their frustrations that it was useless believing in God, since despite all they had done to live good lives, they were still experiencing so much trials. They were envying the evil people who were prospering.
~ It was at this point that the Prophet was sent to tell them that “the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the Lord of hosts.”
~ This goes down again to the question asked to Jesus: When? When will this be fulfilled. We may see ourselves in their situation that we may ask, when will this happen? How are we going to prepare ourselves to wait for this day?
▪St. Paul in the second reading tells us how to answer the question of this “when”: “Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.” (2 Thes. 3:12)
The above was in response to the challenges being faced by Christians in Thessalonica then. Some people began spreading rumours that Christ was coming and deceived many to stop working.
~ St. Paul encouraged that those who refused to work, should also not try to eat from the labours of others.
▪Dear friend, there are many people who are going about talking about the end of the world in this literal sense as in the readings of today. Do not follow them, the Lord warns. Go about living your life in an honourable and dignified way, giving glory to God with your thoughts, words and actions. Vatican II document, Gaudium et Spes, n. 43, “exhorts Christians, as citizens of two cities, to strive to discharge their earthly duties conscientiously and in response to the Gospel spirit.”
Let us not worry about when the world will come to an end, this is taking too much. We did not create the world, but we can help make the world a beautiful place, if we live in love (being kind to the poor and the rejected) by being faithful to the teachings of the Lord (C.f. Matthew 25:34-36), and by our perseverance we will secure our lives. Our Blessed Mother Mary persevered through trials, with her, may we live trusting in God. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
Have a beautiful Sunday
May God bless you
Fr Joseph Chukwugozie Ikegbunam
Blessed Sacrament Parish, Stowe and Most Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Morrisville, Vermont, USA