Theme: The Eschatological Hope
By: Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe
Homily for Sunday November 14 2021
In today’s readings, the Church presents us with some passages from the Jewish apocalyptic literature. Apocalyptic literature is a body of writings which emerged at a time of persecution and mental anguish with the aim of restoring to those being persecuted the belief that God is still in control and shall intervene in their tribulations by rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked. It was meant to encourage good, discourage evil and restore hope to the persecuted.
The first reading (Daniel 12:1-3) which is an apocalyptic literature is set within the context of the oppression of the Jews by the Hellenistic kings some three hundred years before the birth of Christ. When these kings invaded Palestine, they persecuted the Jews for refusing to accept beliefs and practices that were totally against their faith. Though it appears to predict the future, the author uses this style to figuratively interpret the events of his time and to pass across a message of hope to the oppressed. According to the text, the archangel Michael shall arise to protect the righteous.
The gospel reading (Mark 13:24-32) also belongs to the same apocalyptic literature. Mark was writing for a community that was in darkness, distressed and persecuted on account of their faith. Many were martyred and the rest were living in fears. He wrote to reassure them that Christ at the end will reign above all things and that even if they die, that they shall be justified and glorified at the end while the wicked shall perish.
Today’s message is a message of hope, encouragement and joy and that is why the Church presents it to us as we gradually come to the close of the liturgical year. The Church wants us to remember that despite the difficulties we encounter in our daily lives which seem to question the presence of God that we should not be afraid for the reign of God is close at hand. He is coming soon to deliver and reward the just while the wicked will be eternally condemned.
Today, across the globe, so many Christians are persecuted on account of their faith. Our morality is challenged by secularism and hedonism. Our peace has been extinguished by terrorism, insecurity and bad governance. The wicked seems to flourish while the just seems to suffer. So many questions are being raised against God; where is God when bad things happen? Can God just be quiet? Can’t God intervene? etc.
In the midst of these troubling questions, today’s Good News offers us the answer; it offers us hope, hope of deliverance, revival, renewal and resurrection. These negative signs point towards the end time and instead of panicking, we should expect the triumph of good over evil.
More so, we should be convinced today that there is no peace for the wicked and that the righteous shall not go unrewarded. This should encourage us to continue our good works even if they seem to be contrary to what a whole lot of others are doing. It is a sacrifice. That is why the second reading (Hebrew 10:11-14,18) reminds us of the one and only sacrifice Christ made for our sake. That sacrifice or offering has been capable of sanctifying us and as priests in the temple of our hearts, we ought to continue making sacrifices and offerings in other to be in consonance with what Christ expects from us on the last day.
Therefore beloved friends, what can we offer to God today? What sacrifice can we make to please Him? Can we keep on doing good and avoid evil no matter the consequence? If nothing motivates us to do good, then, let us be motivated by the hope of eternal reward for those who do good. As we live in the secular world, do not forget that one day, we shall all gather to give account of our sojourn here on earth. We can start now to prepare for it because no one knows the day or the hour when Christ will come. God loves you.
Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe