Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B
Theme: The reality of the end
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Every beginning is geared towards an end. Also, every end presupposes a process that had a beginning. The Christian Life is always conscious of the reality of the end as we await the coming in glory of the Son of God. To live without consciousness of the end is to lose sight of the ultimate goal of the Christian Life because the end gives meaning to the present and inspires the fruitful and gracious use of the present for the purpose for which God ordained it. God Himself is the Master of the past, the present and the future. When the Lord comes, may we wake to everlasting life; Amen.
As the Liturgical Year gradually draws to a close, the Church cautiously calls our attention to the reality of the end-time. There are many realities which we naturally associate with the end-time; death, judgement, eternal life or damnation, etc. The end-time is also a time of divine justice; when God will surely repay each person according to his or her deeds. It is impossible to live the Christian Life without always having the end-time in view. In fact, the Church, in the Liturgy, often places on our lips the profession of faith, in prayer form, of “the coming in glory” of our Lord Jesus Christ. That there will be an end-time was never a fabrication of the Church, rather it was one of the truths revealed throughout the History of Salvation, which our Lord Jesus Christ re-affirmed and confirmed. Jesus, at certain points of His ministry, spoke to His followers about the fact that the end will surely come and about some of the things that are to be associated with the coming of the end-time. This is partly the message of Jesus in the Gospel Reading of today (Mark 13:24-32). One striking thing about all the things that Jesus said about the end-time is the fact that “for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.” That no creature knows the time details of the end-time is an invitation to constant readiness. It is a summons never to allow ourselves be deceived or cajoled into the unfounded postulations and speculations of some people whose main aim is to make us live in agitation and fear. Only God knows when it will come. Our duty is to make ourselves ready and available. The Christian Life involves keeping oneself ready for the end-time with the principles and values which our Lord Jesus Christ lived, taught and entrusted to His disciples as the guide to a fruitful life. The Christian Life also involves making us available for the end-time so that when the Lord comes, He will not find us wanting or missing.
The unfolding of events sometimes leaves us carried away by the here and now that we fail to see the inseparable link between the past, the present and the future. Every present is an invaluable opportunity to make better the experiences of the past in order to make the future brighter. A Christian certainly lives in the here and now. However, the ultimate goal of a Christian is in the future; life with God and in God. This involves a certain level of constant progress in the exercise of the Christian virtues. The stronger and firmer we grow in the exercise of these virtues in the present, the more Christ-like we become. Consequently, the more ready we become for the end-time. The First Reading (Daniel 12:1-3) speaks to us most eloquently about two categories of persons with respect to the types of fate that await each of these categories of persons at the end of time. One of the categories of persons regrettably will make an experience which is very much undesirable to any of us; waking “to shame and everlasting disgrace.” This is the worst experience anybody can have; to suffer the lost of everything that counts. This is possible only for those who misused the many opportunities and graces God gave them to be better. The other category of persons, who lived in accordance with the Word of God, will wake “to everlasting life… they will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.” Where we belong between these two categories of persons depends on how best we deploy our present. Every moment we have is an opportunity to open ourselves to the merits of Christ Who “by virtue of the One single offering, has achieved the eternal perfection of all whom He is sanctifying” (Hebrews 10:11-14, 18). Every one of us is under the sanctifying effects of Christ and we must live according to the promptings of the sanctifying presence of Christ in our lives. It is impossible to fittingly prepare for the end-time if one is totally cut-off from Christ. Christ remains our only way to Eternal Life! It is He who is coming to lead us into the glory of the celestial realms.
Lord, in everything we do, may we never lose sight of the reality of the end-time. Give us the grace to use every opportunity You graciously give us to prepare for it. Whenever it finally comes, may we be counted among the chosen ones; Amen. Happy Sunday; Fr. Cyril CCE