This is the Homily I gave this past weekend. (Readings)
Today we celebrate the 33rd Sunday in ordinary time. Next weekend will mark the end of the Liturgical year as we again prepare for the coming of the Lord at Advent. So as we end our year – today we focus on the End of Times – death, judgement, heaven, and hell.
Today’s readings are given to us to remind us of a certain reality. The reality is that Jesus will return, there will be a Final Judgement when He will administer true Justice and – that there is a Heaven and a Hell.
And while today’s readings are more to-the-point on the topic, we are reminded of the return of Jesus at every Mass.
In our Creed we say: He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
In the Mystery of our Faith: When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your Death, O Lord, until you come again.
In the Lord’s Prayer: Thy Kingdom come.
Jesus talks often of the end of time. He cautions us that there will be signs that point to His coming, but no one really can really know exactly when He will come again.
Have any of you had the “opportunity” to watch the show “Doomsday Preppers”? I had the unfortunate privilege to watch one of these episodes while I up late at night caring for a sick child a few years ago as parents do. It came on the channel I was watching and I was too tired to find something else. It was about a family who had taken extreme measures to plan for a forthcoming apocalypse. One they thought was coming at any time. They were storing up huge amounts of food, which seems praiseworthy enough, but they are also purchasing all kinds of deadly weapons to protect their stores.
The problem behind all this, of course, is the modern day belief that the greatest good is life – my life, to be exact – my survival at any cost. Through the periscope of my bunker I will watch you and your children starve and then shoot you if you approach my storehouse of food and drink.
What they don’t seem to realize is that even before there is a catastrophe, they have already retreated into their bunkers, already they are pointing guns at me, already I am a threat to their survival, already I am their enemy and already their survival is more important than mine. They are already at war.
So how does Jesus tell us to prepare? Do not be frightened.
Faced with the reality of wars, revolutions, great earthquakes, plagues, famines, fearful sights and great signs from heaven and even betrayal, persecution and death Jesus tells us: do not prepare your defense. I myself shall give you what you need to survive.
The critical difference, of course, between the preppers and Jesus is that they are wanting to keep their human life safe while Jesus wants us to keep our eternal life safe. This is what he means when he foretells that the Temple (everything) will be destroyed but: not a hair on your head will be destroyed.
Jesus does not advise us to build bunkers or store food or turn our backs on our neighbors. Jesus’ wants us to understand one unchangeable truth which is that: everything will be destroyed; but not those who listen to and keep his words.
For those who believe in the Good News all these terrible things are not the real enemy; in fact, they are a unique opportunity to give witness to faith in Christ.
By living fully with God and for God at every moment of every day – Then, no matter when the end arrives, we will be more than ready. We will meet Jesus not as strangers but as dear and intimate friends who know each other well.
Content from Fr John Speekman, Fr Alex McAllister and Deacon Bill’s Blog