Fr. Mike’s Homily for Friday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Friday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: The second coming of Christ

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches


Homily for Friday November 12 2021

Lk 17:26-37

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, a person who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise a person in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.” They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”

The Second Coming of the Lord at the end of time is definitely certain, and no one can stop it. At the same time, it is also equally uncertain, in the sense that absolutely no one knows the day or the hour. So, it will catch people by surprise, though His coming is clearly visible in all parts of the world. Jesus compares it to a flash of lightning which gleams at the same instant in every point of the horizon: “For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.”

To illustrate this truth, Jesus mentions the events that happened during the time of Noah when the great deluge submerged the whole world, and during the time of Lot when fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah. “So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.” In His prediction, the Lord alludes to the fall of Jerusalem in the hands of the Romans in 70 A.D.. These also happen in all natural disasters. Jesus points out that there will always be those who are ready and others who are not: “one will be taken, the other left.”

The disciples are curious: “Where, Lord, will all this take place which you have been telling us about?” And Jesus replied, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.” The Lord’s answer means that the terrible and awful scenes He had pictured would take place everywhere. The ‘body’ is a decaying nation or society that has become entirely secular and devoid of God. The ‘vultures’ represent the punishment that comes upon such a society. This can be seen as an implicit reference to the City of Jerusalem.

The Gospel today is a strong reminder for us to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ, and, on a personal level, for our own death. The Apostle Paul warns the first Christians at Thessalonica: “For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief at night” (1Thes 5:2). This is clearly a call to readiness and constant vigilance.

St. Augustine has written that the Lord keeps the circumstances of His coming hidden so that we may be always on the alert (Commentary on Psalm 120,3). We also do not know when our death will come. The very uncertainty helps us to be watchful, like the doorkeeper awaiting the arrival of his Master (Lk 12:35-42).

Death can teach us many things about life. Basically, it reminds us that our life is limited. Hence, this will impel us to live our lives the best we can, to seek only the things we really need, to detach ourselves from material things, to appreciate the eternal value of our good works. It teaches us to make good use of each and every day with joy as if it were our whole life. “Carpe diem” (‘seize the day’) is how the Roman poet, Horace, puts it. It is good advice not just for the end of our lives but for every day and every moment of every day. A popular quote says, “You only live once? False. You live every day. You die once.” As St. Philip Neri said, “The best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last.”

The texts of the Gospel today are not intended to fill us with fear. Far from being afraid, we ought to look forward to that day with joyful anticipation, entrusting our whole lives and our future in the loving hands of God. The Second Coming of the Lord, and even our own death, are not at all dreadful when we live our lives to the fullest. And we cannot afford to postpone doing so. The Stoic philosopher Seneca accurately observed, “It is not that we have so little time, but that we have wasted so much of it.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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