HOMILY FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF THE YEAR C. (4)










HOMILY FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF THE YEAR C.

THEME: A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE FRIGHTENING SIGNS OF THE END TIME

BY: Rev. Fr. Gerald Muoka.

R1 – Mal 3:19-20a
R2 – 2Thess 3:7-12
GOSPEL – Luke 21:5-19

The Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, tells the parable of a theater where a variety show is proceeding. Each act is more fantastic than the last, and each is applauded by the audience. Suddenly the manager appears on the stage, apologizing for the interruption. He announces at the top of his voice that the theater is on fire, and begs his patrons to leave the theatre immediately, without causing a commotion. The spectators think that it is the most amusing turn of the evening, and cheer thunderously. The manager again feverishly implores them to leave the burning building, and he is again applauded vigorously. At last he can do no more. The fire races through the whole building engulfing the fun-loving audience with it. “And so,” concludes Kierkegaard, “will our age, I sometimes think, go down in fiery destruction to the applause of a crowded house of cheering spectators”

Beloved in Christ, the readings of this Sundays liturgy invite us to reflect on a crucial theme, bothering on the reality of the End Time. These readings warn us against falling victims of unpreparedness and ignorance of the events of the End time; a fate similar to that of Kierkegaard’s fun-loving audience at the introit story.

In the First Reading, the prophet Malachi addresses the question of why it looks as if evildoers prosper and the just suffer. Such demoralizing stance has overtime, attracted such question as, “What is the value of living a just and pious life when the irreligious people look down on the observance of the law?  The prophet, today, tells us that the end of the world and the judgment will be terrible for the evildoer but joy for the faithful. He says that it will be bad news for those who have led lives of pure self-interest and sacrificed others for it; and a day that will bring healing and reward for the just.

RELATED: HOMILY FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C

In the second reading, we see St Paul’s admonitions to the Thessalonians to brace up and work.
Early believers anticipated that Jesus would soon return in glory (Parousia), bringing history to a close with God’s Final Judgment of the living and the
dead. Some Thessalonians reacted to this possibility by quitting their
regular jobs and living indolent lives.
Why should we put in so much effort during the brief period before the Parousia, they reasoned to themselves.
Some of them were more concerned with keeping out of other people’s
affairs. Hence, St. Paul corrects them by asking them to imitate his own example of preaching and manual work, as a tentmaker, warning them, “If anyone is unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.”  So, he distinguishes actively waiting and passively waiting for the judgement day. We Christians, should actively anticipate it with works of charity and love.

The Gospel reading is taken from Luke’s version of what is frequently called “the apocalyptic discourse.”
Here, Jesus addresses His words to His disciples and followers gathered in the Temple for the Passover feast. In sum, Jesus demands of his hearers tenacity of Faith and Hope in spite of the sufferings and worrisome that accompany the End time.

*THE ESSENCE OF APOCALYPTIC DISCOURSES IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE*

In general, apocalyptic writings were symbolic in nature, giving more an interpretation of future events than an actual prediction.

(i) One purpose of apocalyptic literature is to encourage dispirited people by proclaiming that God is in control of history and that punishment of the wicked will come about by God’s doing, thus urging all to repentance before the end.

(ii) A second purpose is to encourage believers to remain faithful through the coming ordeals.

(iii) A third purpose is to inspire believers to derive all the spiritual good God offers them through life’s inevitable suffering.

So the apocalyptic writers encouraged their readers to interpret their sufferings as a sharing in the birth-pangs of the “end.” The believers were assured that if they remained constant in Faith, they could welcome the end of all things and the beginning of eternity with confidence and joy rather than with fear and dread.

*LIFE MESSAGES*

(1) *THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT IS A REALITY*
The most important lesson in today’s liturgy is the need to be aware and conscious of the day of reckoning. Hence, the Day of the Lord’s coming must come to fulfilment. This teaches us that we must all die someday. We then ask, “After death what next?” Of course, judgement. St Augustine once said, “When I remember death, I begin to live well.”
So, the church urges us today to begin to live well.

(2) *ALWAYS BE PREPARED TO MEET THE LORD*
The best response towards the apocalyptic message of this Sunday is not fear, rather faithfulness and preparedness. We must always to be ready to face our own death. This entails living holy lives of selfless love, mercy, compassion, and unconditional forgiveness, remembering the demands of justice in our day-to-day lives. In sum, living righteously.

Finally, a 2000-member church was filled to overflowing capacity one Sunday morning. The preacher was ready to start the sermon when two men, dressed in long black coats and black hats, entered via the rear of the Church. One of the two men walked to the middle of the Church while the other stayed at the back of the church. They both then reached under their coats and withdrew automatic weapons. The one in the middle announced, “Everyone willing to take a bullet for Jesus stay in your seat!” Naturally, the pews emptied, followed by the choir loft. The Catechist ran out of the door too. After a few moments, there were about 20 people left sitting in the Church. The preacher was holding steady in the pulpit. The men put their weapons away and said, gently to the preacher, “All right, pastor, the hypocrites are gone now. You may begin the service.”

Beloved, we should not be so anxious about when the world will end but rather should concern ourselves with the preparation needed for the end of our own individual life.

Can we be faithful no matter what?

*BENEDICTION:*
MAY THE LORD GRANT US THE GRACE TO BE FAITHFUL TO OUR CHRISTIAN CALLING TILL THE END AND TO PARTAKE OF THE BEATIFIC VISION.

A CORRIGENDUM
I was pleased to get response from two of my elder brothers in the priesthood regarding the quote I copied from Fr. Ozele, regarding eternal life and everlasting life.
They said, “If there is any difference between ebighiebi and ebebe, it is only a dialectical-lingual one. Certainly not a conceptual one. It is the same. Our region would say ebighiebi (ebiebi), while the Anambrarians would say ebebe.” Please, take note of the correction.

*HAPPY SUNDAY!*

 

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