Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

Homily for Saturday November 27 2021

Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 34th Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Saturday November 27 2021

Lk 21:34-36

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

The Gospel reading for the last day of the liturgical year is a continuation of the messages of warning from Jesus. The world is not forever. A day will come when everything will disappear, and we will have to face the judgment seat of God. Hence, Jesus warns His followers not to become engrossed and preoccupied with worldly matters, self-indulgence and the pursuit of pleasure, and be anxious about material things: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”

Once again, He reminds them: the “great day” is going to happen very quickly without warning, and will surprise everyone like a trap. And this is not only for a certain group of people, but for “everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” Of course, this “great day” also refers to the day when each one of us will be called to face our Lord and Creator at the end of our earthly life. Hence, the Lord exhorts everyone: “Be vigilant at all times.”

Being vigilant is to be watchful and ready like the servants awaiting the master’s return in the middle of the night and like the five wise virgins with their lamps burning brightly. There are concrete steps of being actively vigilant.

In the first place, fear and anxieties should be cast aside. Jesus repeatedly exhorts us: “Do not be afraid. I am with you until the end of the age.” Fear effectively petrifies people, pushing them into inaction. True Christians are spiritual athletes. A true athlete is not afraid of the race. Rather, he prepares for it through serious training and sacrifice. When at times he feels tired and is tempted to give up, he simply reminds himself of the prize and that is what keeps him going. As spiritual athletes, Christians are not afraid of death nor the end of the world. Rather, he prepares for that ‘great day’. And what motivates him to persevere in his preparations, despite oppositions and obstacles, is the prize at stake: heaven and eternal life.

Second, vigilance means being alert and sensitive to the signs of the times. Time and again, Jesus reminds His followers to be awake and alert, not “drowsy from carousing and drunkenness”. They have to keep their eyes open in order to observe and readily discern the signs and warnings along the way. He gives the example of the appearance of the clouds in the east and the cropping up of fresh buds of the trees at the end of winter. A person who is totally engrossed in worldly and material affairs cannot do so.

Third, vigilance is mainly through prayer. In His agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, He instructed His disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test” (Mt 26:41).
Human as we are, we do not have the strength to face and overcome trials and tribulations. But when we bend our knees in prayer, we become strong with the strength provided by God. In particular, Jesus asks us to pray for the strength “to stand before the Son of Man”. At the end of our mortal life and of the world, we all will face the judgment seat of God.

There is no better example of this kind of vigilance than the Blessed Mother herself. This is precisely the reason why we dedicate Saturday in her honor. On that Saturday after Good Friday, while the whole world mourns, Mary stands there waiting full of faith, hope and expectation. Many times in the Gospels, Mary is described as standing, even while she was beneath the cross. This is a posture of strength and active readiness. She is not sitting down, which is a posture of passivity and sometimes of weakness. Filled with grief and tears, she remains silent, keeping everything in her heart. But most especially, she is silent because she is deeply absorbed in prayer.

Let the words of the Apostle Peter give us courage and strength: “There is cause for rejoicing here. You may, for a time, have to suffer the distress of many trials; but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire-tried gold, may, by its genuineness, lead to praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ appears” (1Pet 1:6-8).

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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