Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: The reality of the end
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday November 17 2019
We are on the move, on a pilgrimage. This movement is towards the end during which we must all present our report cards, detailing how we lived the precious gift of life and the many opportunities God gave to us. The reality of this end gives meaning to all of our struggles and keeps us conscious and responsible in our dealings, aware of the fact that, despite all odds, life is not a futile entity; life has a purpose; life is a mission. The end is a call to accountability, to judgement and to reward. May God grant us all a happy end; Amen.
As we gradually approach the end of the present Liturgical Year, the Church, through the readings, gradually reminds us of the reality of the end of the time. On the one hand, this reminiscence is important because our life as human beings, and especially as Christians, is on the move. This movement is a journey back to God our Creator. During the process of this movement, of this pilgrimage, countless number of opportunities is presented to us. These opportunities are double edged swords in the sense that we either use them to make or to mar ourselves. Our use of these opportunities determines our end a great deal. This was central to the message of the Prophet Malachi in the First Reading of today (Mal 3:19-20), “the day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble … but for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.” The end is actually a time of reckoning for the type of fruits we bore with all the blessings and graces we received while on this pilgrimage of life. Note must be taken here because sometimes we pray for different gifts and favours from God and forget to pray for a corresponding grace that is doubly necessary. This is the grace to use the gifts and favours and blessings we have received from God to the greater glory of His name. Using these gifts involve also paying sincere and humane attention to the poor around us, especially as today marks the World Day of the Poor. We are brothers and sisters and we are called to collectively support each other and make the world a better and safer place for all. In fact, “the situation of the poor obliges us not to keep our distance from the body of the Lord, Who suffers in them” (Pope Francis, _Message for World of the Poor 2019_ , n.6). It is only in such ways do we prepare and dispose ourselves for a happy end.
On the other hand, the preparation for the end requires steadfastness, stability and constancy, because, irrespective of the fact that we are called to prepare for the end always and that we are certain it will surely come, no one but God actually knows when the end will be. This must be clarified to avoid giving in to distractions and deceptions aimed at redirecting our attention away from what truly matters. This was the central message of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 21:5-19). Irrespective of the foreseen challenges and persecutions and difficulties that we encounter on the journey of life, persistence in the practice of the faith is key to a happy end. Hence, a constant process and progress of readiness is the watch-word of a true Christian. Guided by this watch-word, it becomes difficult to be deceived or misled. Further still, it becomes impossible to be discouraged or to give up in the face of betrayals of all forms because we are daily encouraged to persevere and to stand firm by those unchanging words and promises of God; “not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.” For a Christian, the end is not a time of loss, but the moment of fullness of grace and gain. For a Follower of Christ, the end is not a moment of doom and destructions and exterminations and devastation, but the moment of fullness of life. The end is the time for the consummation of hope for at the end, “the Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.”
Lord, help us to concretely love and care for the poor around us and may Your grace accompany us always on our daily preparation for the End and for the coming of Your Kingdom; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE