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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Reflection/Homily: Thirty-Third (33rd) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year C

Theme: How best to wait for the end

The Prophet Malachi prophesied to the Israelites at a time when there was a great loss of faith among them. The religious leaders of that time together with the people lost the sense of the sacred. People no longer fulfilled their religious obligations because they thought God was no longer interested in their activities let alone taking records. It was against this backdrop that the Prophet Malachi emerged to rebuke the people for their religious insensitivity. As the first reading (Mal. 3:19-20) presents to us, the Prophet Malachi warned them about the day of the Lord. He reminded them that God will still visit them on the last day and reward each person according to his/her deeds.

Our present condition is not also far from that of the Israelites. Today, we also live in a decadent society that has lost the sense of sin, with absolutely no regard for the commandments of God. Religion and morality have so much been customized that each person decides what is morally good or bad for him or her. Religious leaders prefer to milk from the flock instead of shepherding them. The wicked graduate in their wickedness while the just continue to rely on hope. The message of the first reading therefore comes to us as a message of hope especially for those who still trust in God and do His will. The Lord will soon arrive. Then, He will punish all evil doers and exalt the righteous. 

The arrival of the Lord will put an end to the several difficulties and challenges we are encountering on account of our faith. For all evil doers, it will plunge them into the lake of fire where they will burn like straw. When the Lord arrives, all we have struggled to build and achieve will cease to exist for all perishables will be destroyed. Only those who have made themselves imperishable will remain. Even those things we so much cherish and value will no longer be available for us again. Then we can only boast of how well we have lived our lives and not of the things we have enjoyed.

That is the point Jesus was making in the Gospel reading (Luke 21:5-19) when he told those around him that “the day will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down”. He even went further to reveal some signs that will accompany the end time. He spoke of the presence of false prophets, revolutions and war, earthquakes, famines and persecutions. Today, we witness an avalanche of false prophets and miracle workers. Nations are languishing in wars and famines. Revolutions and uprising spring up from various corners of the earth and more people are losing their lives on account of their faith. Are these not signs of the end time?    

Now that the end time is gradually approaching, we are not expected to sit and wait for the arrival of the Lord as some of the Thessalonians did after receiving Paul’s first letter. They thought there was no need working since all we labour for would cease to exist at the arrival of the Lord. All houses, cars, wealth, etc would be vanity when the Lord returns. We are not even expected to go about panicking or looking for prayer warriors to pray for us. This is the time to focus on ourselves to see how well we have lived our lives and determine how well to live them in the next days God will grant us before the Lord arrives. As St. Paul advised the Thessalonians in the second reading (3:7-12), this is the time to work quietly in order to earn our living.  

Beloved friends, as we approach the end of the liturgical year, the Church through the readings invites us to reflect on the outcome of the lives we have lived so far. Would they qualify us to join the Lord in glory or merit us the lake of fire? Though the signs of the time speak of the nearness of the Lord, do not allow fear or anxiety to overtake you because the end is not so soon. Therefore, let us keep working hard with a faith that is perseverant, a hope that is firm and a love that is constant. Happy Sunday. Remember that God loves you.

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