YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: The end is here, the time is now.
BY: Fr. C. C. Aladi.
GOSPEL: MK 13:24-32
” *He who loves the coming of the Lord is not he who affirms that it is far off, nor is it he who says it is near, but rather he who, whether it be far off or near, awaits it with sincere faith, steadfast hope, and fervent love”* – St. Augustine.
My Dearest Children, we are gradually coming to the close of the Church’s and calendar year. At this time of the year, the holy mother Church brings to our consciousness and reminds us of these eschatological realities of the end time, the second coming of Christ, death, judgement, heaven and hell. In the creed we recite at Mass, we proclaim that Jesus “will come again to judge the living and the dead.” The New Testament writers used the Greek word “Parousia” which means the arrival and presence of a king, to describe this second coming of Jesus. Many may not be comfortable with discussions about end-time, the second coming of Christ or life after death because of their preoccupations with earthly things, but the truth that stares us at the face is that it must surely come; …” _This generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.”_ The word of God has already confirmed it. You may argue that the world will never come to an end, but the day you will realize it, maybe the very hour of your death. Don’t argue the word of God. Strive to live by it.
The readings of today especially the first reading and the gospel testifies to the very fact that Jesus is coming again to judge the living and the dead at the end of time. The first reading taken from the prophet Daniel (167 BC), was originally given to comfort and give hope to the Jewish people persecuted by a cruel pagan king. It advises us to live wisely and justly in the present time, instead of worrying about the unknown future.
Many speculations and prophecies abound as to when the end time will come. So will say we are already at the end of time. On this, the Bible has this to say which I believe is final : *”But of that day or hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.*” In the past, strange things had happened in this universe and people attribute them to the signs of the end time but the truth is that we should not worry ourselves about when the world will end, for no one knows the day or hour. Our main concern today should be to examine our lives and know if we shall be counted among the elect when Jesus comes again to judge the living and the dead at the end of time.
Imagine if at this very hour the end comes, and the displacement of the celestial bodies we heard in the gospel begins to unfold… _” the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light”_ What do you think shall be your fate? Are you pretty sure dear child of God, that your life today is pleasing to God and would merit you an everlasting happiness? Ask your self, if I die today, shall heaven be my reward or shall I be in an everlasting horror and disgrace in Hell. The greatest regret of many before their death is the fact of not doing what they should have done while the physical strength and resources are there. What do you think would be your greatest regret on your deathbed and what do you think you can do today to avoid it, so as to die a peaceful death?. Think about it.
Every man and woman shall all be judged according to his or her deeds at the end of this earthly life. God will judge the world with equity and the peoples in His truth. Every action we undertake today has its rewards or punishments. *God rewards you not according to your work or your time but according to the measure of your love.”* -St. Catherine of Sienna. Good deeds have an everlasting reward. *”How far that little candle throws its beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”* -William Shakespear.
The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin( cf. Prov 10:26) The evil deeds you indulge in today have their temporal and eternal punishments. So *”Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return”* (cf.Gal 6:7.) Now is the time to make amends. Now is the time to reconcile. Now is the time to make restitution for the wrongs done. You might have confessed your sins but remember the temporal punishment for sins remains even after one has received absolution at the confessional. That is why you should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off the “old man” and to put on the “new man.”
The Gospel makes allusion to the parable of the fig tree. The fig tree sprouts its leaves in late spring heralding the summer season. The application of this image to the end of the world suggests that the end of the world will mean good times, or summer, for Jesus’ disciples, because their God will be bringing things to a triumphant end, and His Truth, Love and Justice will prevail forever. But we must always be well prepared to face our judgment because we do not know the day nor the hour, either of the ending of the world or of our own call from this life. Hence, true disciplined time to watch and wait in a state of readiness. *Instead of worrying about end-time events, we are asked to live very every day of our lives in loving God in Himself and in loving others by our committed service*
So do not procrastinate, tomorrow may be too late. *Live each day as if it were your last. Do the good you can today* and let go of any regrets because you may not have the opportunity again tomorrow. *Each day, every passing hour brings us closer to our graves; Make each day count.* Jesus comes to us every day in ordinary events of life and in the Eucharist let us welcome Him into our lives. Let us look to the future with hope and serenity because Jesus, who sits forever at God’s right hand, is the mediator who has secured the forgiveness of our sins and our sanctification through his sacrifice on the cross as we heard in the second reading.
May God give us the grace to live our lives in a way pleasing to Him; Using every opportunity we have to do good to others, to die a happy death and to make heaven as our reward.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. C. C. Aladi.