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YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 33RD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: SOWING AND REAPING
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – Dan. 1:-3
Second reading – Heb. 10:11-14
Gospel – Mk. 13:24-32
Common to both the first reading and the gospel of today is the theme of Divine retribution – reward for every deed of every man. From the prophet Daniel we read: “When that time comes… those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace” (Dan. 12:2) In the gospel, Jesus averred “…he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven” (Mk. 13:27). In as much as we find in these eschatological discuss, things pointing towards the inevitable end of the world, we can also see in it how it affects many things we do here and the end result. For every action, whether good or bad, there is an expected result.
The third chapter of the Qoheleth began thus: “There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven. …A time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted [harvesting]….” (Eccl. 3:1-8). It is the last but one Sunday in the Calendar of the Catholic Church; and the year itself is doting her “i” and crossing her “t”. It is a time when Churches are into harvest, thanksgiving and bazaar. It is a time when those who have been making an annual contributions or savings are getting ready to reap what they have labored for. Suffice it to say that it is a time when all that has been sown throughout the year would be reaped. Yes, the end is near, and this must definitely pose some challenges to us.
At a time like this, one needs to ask oneself: how far has it been through the year? No doubt, to have been sleeping while others went to the farm would mean a terrible hunger when others would be “singing as they reap” (Psalm 126:5-6). To have been attending parties while others studied would mean to be nursing the pains of carry over or repeat examinations when others would be rejoicing over good results. I remember a song we sang during our secondary School days which says: “you shall reap whatever you sow”. St Paul too was not mincing words to say we need not forget that thin sowing means thin reaping – (2 Cor. 9:6). For all our actions, whether good or bad, there is a reward either sooner or later.
If it is this way then, why do people live their lives as though the end of all matters is here? One thing that pains me, and I know it hurts many too, is to see an evil doer prosper and enjoy as if nothing is happening. But wait a minute; the Psalmist says we should be calm when the evil man grows rich for such temporary glory does not follow him below – Psalm 49:16. A constant bearing in mind that Divine retribution is not a joke would make us act justly. Jesus says it for sure, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will not pass away” – (Mk. 13:31). It is interesting and consoling for one who struggles to be virtuous, but disheartening for the habitual evil doer, these concluding words of my best friend, the Qoheleth – “To sum up the whole matter: fear God, and keep His commandments, since this is the whole duty of man. For God will call all hidden deeds, good or bad to judgment” – Eccl. 4:13-14. Let us strive, therefore, to sow right in order to reap a cheerful harvest at last.
OUR SONG TODAY:
Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noontide and the dewy eve;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves, Bringing in the sheaves, bringing in the sheaves, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves
Sowing in the sunshine, sowing in the shadows, Fearing neither clouds nor winter’s chilling breeze;
By and by the harvest and the labor ended, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
Going forth with weeping, sowing for the Master,
Though the loss sustained our spirit often grieves;
When our weeping’s over, He will bid us welcome, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.