Homily Thirty-third Sunday Year C The end time

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Homily Thirty-third Sunday Year C      

Reading 1: There is a constant theme in the Old Testament and in the New Testament: identifying and separating the proud and the evil doers from those who have a reverential awe of the Lord. In Psalm 1 it is identified as two paths of life: those who follow the way of the Lord and those who follow the way of evil. In the parables of Jesus it is the wheat and the weeds, the net that brings in the good and bad fish, the separation of the sheep from the goats.

What happens to the proud, the evildoers, the goats and the weeds? They are destroyed by the blazing fire of justice. What happens to those who have reverential awe of God, the wheat and the sheep? They will rise to new and everlasting life.

The implication is that while there is time before the Day of the Lord, when the Son of justice appears, to hear the word of God and to repent and turn back to the Lord. At the same time, it is important that those who believe in the Lord remain faithful till the end.

Gospel: Here is an example of the gift of prophesy exercised by Jesus. It is one of the gifts Jesus promised the Spirit will give us, when we are filled with the Spirit, as Jesus was. Here Jesus is prophesying about the future destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. This took place less than 40 years later in 70 AD by the hands of the Romans.

While the focus of the people is to know the exact day and the details, Jesus says that is not to be our focus. Yes, there will be those who will try to say that this or that is the sign of the end. They will say they were given a message about the end. Jesus’ response is that we are not to become disturbed and distracted. Signs will take place that people will point to. Again, we are not to be distracted.

What are we to focus on? Not on the end but on being faithful witnesses to Jesus in the present moment by the way we live. There will be times of persecution for our faith; there may be times we may be challenged or questioned by others concerning our commitment to Jesus. We are to be readied to give witness to Jesus. Even if we will feel inadequate, Jesus said not to worry. He will give us the words to say, the wisdom we will need. What is this wisdom? The Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.

When we were baptized, we were told that we now shared in the life of Jesus as priest, prophet and king. That prophetic call is to be a living, conscious witness of what Jesus has done and who he is. When we were confirmed, we were anointed once more with the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit, so that we can be witnesses to others of Jesus and his mighty deeds.

What are we to do when wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, famine, pestilence and other phenomena happen? Not to become fearful or distracted but to turn to the Lord and to point others to the Lord, who is calling us back to the truth and way of life that would lead to eternal glory, rather than eternal destruction.

Reading 2: No community is perfect. Each has its problems. In Thessalonica the problem was that someone had erroneously told them that the second coming of Jesus was imminent. As a result some decided that it wasn’t necessary to work. But they had to eat, so they expected other members of the community would provide for them.

Paul seeks to correct two things. We don’t know then Jesus is coming, so we need to live our lives in an ordinary way. The second thing is that we need to continue to work to provide for our daily sustenance and not depend upon others to do so for us, when we are capable.

In essence, Paul is saying don’t get distracted from focusing on that which is necessary because of the words of others. Don’t become a burden to others in the community because of personal convictions. Live as if today is the last day but live your normal life.

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