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11/13/16 Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Ron

Homily for the

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mal 3:19-20a      Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9     2 Thes 3:7-12     Lk 21:5-19

 

It is easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of our culture merely as a result of the constant bombardment of reports in the media. And it is the nature of political campaigns to focus all the more on the negative given that candidates are eager to point out how bad things are so that they can promise to create a better world for all of us.

How fortuitous that this gospel comes just as we have suffered an agonizing political campaign. It is as if the words of Sacred Scripture were written specifically for our time. Furthermore, there have always been those who present themselves as prophets who warn us of impending doom. And no words from the Bible could better support their arguments than those of today's gospel: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky." Sound familiar?

The media is bursting with self-important analysts eager to garner ratings with dramatic stories that would shake the faith of the most faithful. In today's gospel, written some two thousand years ago, in the midst of a setting of doom and gloom, our Lord assures us then and now: "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying... ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them!" Apparently, Almighty God is even more powerful than these false prophets.

You and I must not fail to appreciate the powerful message of today's readings. It is a message of hope. There will always be those things that cause us fear and anxiety in the world; whether our personal life or the world a large. Our first reading from the Book of Malachi assures us that "... when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble..." for those of us who have faith in God, and live accordingly, "...there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays."  The Alleluia proclaims: "Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."

 As important as it is to recognize and appreciate the hope that our faith in general, and today's gospel in particular, provide, it is every bit as important to maintain an understanding that there will always be challenges—even tragedy—in our lives. Even as our Lord is assuring us of the saving grace of our beliefs, he warns that we will persecuted for them.

Never is this more evident then during election time, when critical issues are at the forefront of our conversations. Profess a Catholic view on abortion, immigration, birth control, planned parenthood, gay marriage, euthanasia, and any number of other issues and you will quickly understand why our Lord said, "You will be hated by all because of my name." But again, as Jesus always does, he assures us that not a hair on our head will be destroyed. In other words, despite whatever challenges we endure in this difficult lifetime, we are assured an eternity of joy with God in Heaven.

It is interesting to note that the words of Jesus in Luke's gospel foretell the destruction of the temple, but by the time Luke writes the temple has already been destroyed. What results is a powerful statement about the fleeting nature of even the most impressive achievements of man here on earth. "All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down." This is not meant simply as a foreboding warning of the endtimes, but a reminder that our life here on earth is temporary—and the hereafter is eternal—so, it should serve to focus us on what is truly important.

 

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