33RD SUNDAY HOMILY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C (3)







33RD SUNDAY HOMILY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.

THEME: Securing Your Life On The Day Of The Lord.

BY: Fr. Anthony O. Ezeaputa, MA.

 

Today is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. In one week, the liturgical year C will end w ith the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. As a result, the liturgical readings for this Sunday are already exhorting us to persevere in our religious lives in order to secure our lives on the Day of the Lord.

Our first reading (Malachi 3:19–20a) takes place after Judah returns from Babylonian captivity. The returning exiles were met with hostility: their belongings had been taken by others, they were isolated and impoverished, and there was little or no sympathy for them. Of course, all of this had huge consequences for their religious lives, especially their faith in God.

The returnees from the Babylonian exile began to grumble, saying that serving God was useless and that keeping the commandments of God and appearing as mourners brought them no benefit. The arrogant and evildoers, on the other hand, not only seem to prosper but also seem to escape when they put God to the test. In a nutshell, they doubted divine justice (Malachi 3:14–15).

The returnees from the Babylonian exile questioned God’s unchanging will to always give everyone what is due them. When things get rough, people naturally wonder, “Where is God?” And sometimes we compare ourselves to others, saying, “Things are going well for them, even though they don’t pray as much as I do.” These are ways we put divine justice in question.

Every imaginable form of justice exists in God. For example, God demonstrates “legal justice” by coordinating us to the common good through natural and moral law. He shows “distributive justice” by giving us everything we need to fulfill our purpose in life. He shows “remunerative justice” by rewarding the good and “vindictive justice” by punishing the bad we do.

In response to the complaints of the people, the Lord of Hosts declares that on the day of his coming, he will spare the righteous as parents spare their children who serve them. And they will be able to tell the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not (Malachi 3:17–18).

Our first reading today, which begins from the third chapter of the Book of Malachi (3:19–20a), is a continuation of the actions of the Lord on the “Day of the Lord.” On that day, the arrogant and evildoers will be turned into grass and set ablaze, leaving them rootless and branchless. However, the righteous, or those who endure to the end, will triumph. “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays,” he says (Malachi 4:2).

The prophecy of Malachi should encourage us to persevere in good works until the end. Even if it appears that the evildoers are succeeding while we are not, we must resist the temptation and continue to keep the Commandments of God. There will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Unfortunately, some Christians practice “quid pro quo,” “give and take,” “tit for tat,” “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours,” and “one hand washes the other” Christianity. Hence, they are always on the edge of giving up their Christian faith and its disciplines, especially when they don’t get what they want.

Their argument is that they have kept the commandments and ordinances of God and his Church, yet God has not fulfilled his end of the bargain by granting them the benefits they have earned. Sadly, they want Christianity and religious practices to give them happiness and wealth on earth, which is not what they are meant to do.

Faith and fidelity, dear friends, do not guarantee happiness and prosperity in this world. On the other hand, faith and fidelity often lead to persecution and misunderstanding, even among members of the same family. Faith and fidelity lead to persecution, misunderstanding, and hatred for the simple reason that truth, lies, light, and darkness cannot coexist. Because of this, some kinds of disillusionment come from a wrong understanding of Christianity and its mission.

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Still, Christ tells us that if we go through these ‘purifications’ with patience, we will have plenty of reasons to smile at the end. “The sun of righteousness will shine on us with healing in its rays,” says Malachi (4:2).

So, as our liturgical year draws to a close, it is time to do what is required. “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required,” Winston S. Churchill famously said. It’s time for us to do what we need to do to get past any obstacles that might stop us from getting to the end and making sure our lives are secured on the day of the Lord.

The question then becomes, “What is required to secure our lives on the day of the Lord?” Our gospel reading says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” Perseverance means carrying your cross each day and following Jesus Christ. Remember this: “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). Have a fantastic Sunday.

 

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