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11/18/18 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 158

  • We read about the “end times” in today’s readings...
  • People have been trying to predict the end times since the time of Jesus... but in doing so – We’re missing the point...
  • In life, we often concern ourselves with things that are not our concern... and just as often, we overlook those things that’s should be our concern...
  • The end times that we should be concerned with are our own end times - For the simple fact that we’re all mortal and our life on this earth will one day end...
  • As we grow in wisdom we come to realize how little we can control in life…
  • Yet, the one thing that we can control is how we live our lives... 
  • The ability to show compassion and mercy, and to give and receive forgiveness differentiate the human condition from all other forms of life...
  • We’re the only living thing that can consciously choose how we will live...
  • This is a great gift that brings with it a great responsibility...
  • We’re required every day to make choices and decisions that affect not only our lives, but the lives of others as well...
  • The end times that our readings remind us of are a reflection of our own mortality…
  • They should remind us that our time is limited and that tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone
  • This isn’t intended to scare us or threaten us, but to make us aware of the precious gift of life that we’ve each been given… 
  • We should never practice our faith under threat of punishment... because when we do so, we allow fear to govern us...
  • Our faith and our actions must always be governed by love...  
  • Jesus never tried to coerce people with fear, rather; He used love to lead them into making the right decisions...
  • From the Letter to the Hebrews: “For by one offering He has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated.”  
  • That’s us... We’re each being consecrated every day - With every fall, with every small act of selflessness, with every frustration and sorrow, and with every small joy...
  • We’re each being imperceptibly transformed day by day through God’s Grace, in the ordinariness of daily lives…
  • God wastes nothing - No experience, no sorrow, no joy comes to us and leaves us the same
  • The Gospel speaks of Jesus gathering the “elect...”
  • All human beings are God’s elect, because God has no favorites... and neither should we
  •  We get into trouble when we begin to think that somehow we’re the elect and everyone else is excluded...
  • That type of thinking promotes division... and love is intended to unite us not divide us...
  • We’re all dependent upon God’s mercy and benevolence from one breath to the next...
  • That’s the reality of our existence, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not…
  • Love, kindness, mercy, compassion and forgiveness rule the day in God’s Kingdom…
  • From Psalm 103:8-10 – “Merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger, abounding in kindness.  God does not always rebuke, nurses no lasting anger, Has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our deeds deserve.
  • The Good News of the Gospel is that God doesn’t give us what we deserve – He gives us what we don’t deserve – His unconditional love... and the only valid response to this free gift of this love, is to freely share it with others...
  • Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew (10:8): “Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
  • Further along in today’s Gospel Jesus says: “May He not come suddenly and find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” 
  • We can often find ourselves “sleepwalking” through life...
  • And we can also find ourselves “sleepwalking” through our faith as well…
  • Going through the motions without consciously living each day... without ever appreciating the gift of life we’ve been given... 
  • Our daily routines can easily become daily grinds...
  • It takes real discipline to look up from our routines from time to time, to try to see our lives with greater perspective...
  • This becomes a little easier if we learn to keep our mortality in mind - Not in a morbid or sad way, but in a way that keeps us ever mindful of the big picture of life...  
  • As we approach the celebration of Thanksgiving, this cultivation of an “attitude of gratitude” becomes all the more meaningful not just for a single day… But hopefully for the rest of our lives...
  • Until we can come to appreciate that everything is a gift… gratitude will be something that we never seem to have time for...
  • The world is selling happiness, and misrepresenting it as joy
  • Happiness is fleeting but joy is lasting...
  • Joy can only blossom in gratitude... when we’re sufficiently awake to appreciate all of the gifts that God continues to bestow upon us...
  • Our faith journey isn’t about waiting to find joy at the end of our mortal lives in heaven… It’s about learning to find it right now in the life we’re living today
  • The end times are approaching for each of us regardless of our age…
  • How we approach our end times is up to us - And it’s entirely dependent upon our outlook and our attitude
  • Will we meet God with a grateful heart full of thanksgiving for all that He gave us in this life, or will we meet Him with a bitter heart full of anger and resentment?...
  • Our mortal death serves to give us perspective on the life we’re living here...
  • It’s a constant reminder that this is not our permanent home... and that we’re merely passing through on a longer journey to the home from which we came...
  • It reminds us that nothing in this life is lasting except love...
  • Only love lasts… and only love can bridge the divide between this world and the next...

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