HOMILY: 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.
THEME: THE END TIME.
BY: Rev Fr Stephen ‘Dayo Osinkoya.
First Reading: Malachi 3:19-20a
Second Reading: 2Thessalonians 3:7-12
Gospel Reading: Luke 21:5-19
Are there people who worry today that the end of the world is near? It is true there are enough occurrences that suggest that the end time is near. But, we are so accustomed to seeing today the same as yesterday, and so convinced that we have already seen enough wars, earthquakes, tsunamis, Boko haram’s attacks, that we do not expect anything different. We do not fear the worst, because the present is already bad enough, and we do not expect the best, because we have learned to be content with what we have. And, so as not to be disappointed, we have stopped hoping.
Yes, there will be an end of time. To many people the end of the world is tragic. Christianity, however, thinks otherwise. It is not an end but rather a beginning – an event not to be afraid of. Our fear is natural because of the unknown but our fear could also be a reflection of our lack of firm belief in the resurrection.
The Gospel tells us that we are to get ready for that day when God will call us to himself. Our faith tells us that there is no need to live in fear and anxiety regarding the future. Rather, we are to focus on the present time, on today, the here and now.
Jesus promises his followers abundant sufferings and persecutions. If they bear the sufferings for Christ’s name they will earn the true life, the eternal life of heaven. For this reason the Church wants us to examine ourselves today regarding the response we have to such circumstances. We are invited to seek and find him in all things, in every person, in every place, in every experience. He will come surely in his glory and majesty to judge the whole human race, as we hear in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.” So, we are called upon to prepare ourselves for the future by loving and serving others at every possible occasion.
Today’s Gospel Reading is prophetic in nature and was applied to the days of Jesus. But it is also applicable to us in today’s situation. It invites us to be prepared to receive the Lord worthily without any fear. We are called to persevere in our living faith and look forward in hope. Not knowing when our individual time will expire is not meant to frighten a person—unless they need to be frightened to live a good life – but it should motivate us to be prepared. It should give us hope in any type of trial; that our time and trial now is temporary, but eternity is forever. Embracing this way of living gives us hope and confidence, that no matter when we have our time expires, our lives are secure. The world and its false securities are passing realities. In the end, the love of God is all that remains. That love is reciprocal; God has loved his human creatures and awaits a loving response. He comes to assist us, making our response possible and helping us to persevere in that loving response until the end.
Many of us like Jesus’ contemporaries are convinced that our lives had been spared by God. We’re sure that God is always available to us in the Church, waiting for us whenever we go to visit him. We think we could never lose him because we know where to find him. But many have lost God in our world today because we look for him only in the Church, like the Jews looked for God only in the temple of Jerusalem. We fail to recognize him every day in our own lives, in people we come across and in the world. Jesus warns us today, with unusual severity, that there is no future for a world that locks God away, even if it is in a beautiful temple. The world and the temples of those who turned away from God and failed to appreciate him, have disappeared in the past and will disappear even in our own time and in the future as well.
Do we, today, close God away in beautiful temples? Do we think he dwells only in holy places, far away from our daily lives and our concerns?, We believe that God exists and is close to us. If we do not feel the need to wait for God, or feel that God is waiting for us, and if we do not worry too much about seeking God and His will, it is because we delude ourselves that we know where God is to be found.
We believe that God remains always in the place where we put him. We think if we keep him in one place, we will not have to look for him anywhere else. By closing him up in a temple, we expect him always to do our will. We feel that we do not have to do his will in the places where we think he is not present. A world where God is not present in everyday life, but locked away in a beautiful temple, has no future. No matter how magnificent it may be, no temple can be beautiful or attractive for us, if it is the only place we look for God
Beloved, Jesus is assuring his followers that God is present to all believers, even in times of trouble. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to follow Christ, trusting in God’s mercy and protection, even when we are facing difficulties.