HOMILY FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF YEAR C.
THEME: OUR CONCRETE ACTION TODAY MARS OR PRESERVES OUR FUTURE!
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara.
(MALACHI 3:19-20; 2 THESSALONIANS 3:7-12; LUKE 21:5-19)
The liturgy of the word today has an eschatological undertone. Consistently in the Scriptures we find an awareness that our own lives will end one day, and we shall meet the Lord. There is also a consistent awareness that the world as we know it, is passing away and at some point, there will be an end to the world. None of this is meant to scare us but to prepare us. We are meant to be aware that we are now choosing the meaning of our own lives. We are supposed to be choosing values and realities that will last forever because all other values and realities will disappear. We need to be choosing to follow the Lord Jesus because it is He who invites us to share life eternal. We want our lives to be transformed as much as possible now so that we are prepared for the joys of heaven.
As Christians we live in expectation, in the knowledge that at some time everything will be brought to completion. This is what we are reminded of in an article of faith which we profess in our Creed: namely that, the Lord Jesus Christ “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. Aware that the judgment of the Lord is a certainty, we need to lead lives that are in accordance with His commandments.
Christ’s judgment could be likened to the examination of students. To pass the examination, students have to prepare for it. Moreover, to pass an examination which has no fixed date and time, one has to be ever prepared for it. I remember when I was the chaplain of School Of Nursing Federal Medical Centre Owerri, the final exams also known as Nursing Counsel exam, was never funny; reason being I guess that you do not know the subject that comes the first day(paper one) of the usually three days exams (practical’s are always on the last day) so you have to learn everything you were taught as a student in School of Nursing and of course do more research to be confidently prepared for the examination. Similarly, we should be always prepared since we do not know the day or the hour that Christ will come again nor the moment of our death.
Is there a more spiritual teaching about the end of the world? Yes, and we must pay attention to it. The deepest teaching about the end of the world is not about its physical ending, but about how you and I should be living now. The Prophet Malachi in the first reading reminds us that at some point we must all come before the Lord and answer for our lives. Lots of people today no longer believe this. Most of us have not used our lives so very well. Lots of the time we want to use our lives well, but we get distracted. Sometimes we get caught up in desires of the flesh. Other times we get caught up in desires for power.
Sometimes we are just concerned about what others think of us. The reasons for being distracted from the inner goal of a strong spiritual life in God are numerous.
Now, what does it mean to be prepared? One of the things that being prepared means is that I must be able to stand up for my faith. In the Christian understanding of these passages of Scriptures, the final days of the world are always right in front of us. We must eschew the capital sin of sloth which St. Thomas Aquinas defined as: “sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good…it is evil in its effect, if it so oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds”. Thus, we must be ready to die now, at this very moment. There is never any time to waste. If we need to repent from some sin, now is the time. If we want to thank God for something, now is the time. If we need to forgive someone, now is the time. The Scriptures tell us that now is the day of salvation. Now is the time when the Lord is with us, bringing compassion and love. Let us celebrate this Sunday as if it is our final Sunday.
Upon us oh Lord have mercy!