Reflections

Homily for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

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

Remain in Me

[Chosen Lady:]
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth
just as we were commanded by the Father.
But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;
this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning,
in which you should walk.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh;
such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for
but may receive a full recompense.
Anyone who is so “progressive”
as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God;
whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. – 2 John 4-9

©Nissa Gadbois
Although I’m here in my little bubble, I am not unaware of the violence and upheaval going on around the country. I know about the ugliness being meted out between friends and families. 

Two salient points from yesterday’s first reading from the Mass leapt out at me. Perhaps they will speak to you as well.

First – we must love one another.  We must will the good of one another even if we don’t have affection for one another.

Second – it is not love to preach that which is outside of accepted Church teaching.  We must not modify or innovate the Gospel,we mustn’t torture it to seem to support viewpoints or behaviours that are either explicitly contradicted by scripture and/or tradition.

We must love the person.  That doesn’t mean we can’t abhor the words, thoughts, or actions of another. But always we must love.  We must take care of each other.  We mustn’t do harm in body, mind, spirit, nor to that which belongs to another person.  We defeat evil by filling that vacuum with good… with love.

Anyway, that’s what I try to teach my children. I guess that’s what you try to teach yours.  I guess that’s what nearly all of us were taught and what we want to teach.  Perhaps we could try to channel that anger, disappointment, entitlement, braggadocio into something constructive, something to build everyone up.  I wonder what that world would look like? I suspect it would look a lot like Heaven on earth.

“If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

Solitude

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
  – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

©Nissa Gadbois

I find I’m becoming more introverted as I get older. Friends and family, who know me well, will tell you that I am an extrovert to a power of ten.  I love people.  But more and more, I feel I need to love people quietly.  More and more, I feel I need to draw into my own small circle with those I love most and just be together.

I long for a time when I can visit long and deep with a good friend, maybe two.  I long to meet with some of the wonderful men and women that modern technology has brought into my life.  But so few.  So very few.  It seems, sadly, that the only place I can visit with those people is in a very bright, very loud café, constantly interrupted. I want to focus on the heart of my companion, to talk about meaningful things, to laugh together, or to sit in silent contemplation, joining hearts and hands, making memories that sustain us both.

I want to be far from the hubbub that is current society.  It’s all too loud, too angry, too brash, too rude.  I feel wounded and I need to make sense of it all.  Here.  In solitude.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” –  Albert Camus

But I leave the door open to kind-hearted friends and acquaintances who want to come to call – through this space and in real life. 

When you are feeling unworthy…

©Nissa GadboisHe remembers His promise of mercy, the promise He made to Abraham and his children forever.

And unlovable, and so very broken.  God sends His word to speak to your aching heart:

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O LORD and lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD! – Wisdom 11:22-12:2 (NAB)

His name is Love and Mercy and Goodness.  He calls us all to Himself, chastises justly but with gentleness.  He tenderly enfolds us in His embrace and admonishes us to do better, to try harder, to never give up.  When we fall down in the mess we have made, we must get back up, dust ourselves off, clean up that mess, and try again.  And again.  Every single day for as many days as we are granted.

Each one of us was loved into existence by Love Himself.  We are precious and worthy.  We are cherished beyond reason, and above measure.  In all our ugliness and failings as well as in our triumphs and joys.

God is good.  So very good.

 

Changing Seasons

How beautifully leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days – John Burroughs

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois  ©Nissa Gadbois

How wonderful it would be if we could all grow old as beautifully as the leaves do.  They seem to foretell the glory of eternity. 

We have all known an elderly person that seems to radiate joy and peace, as though they were robed in rich silks and wearing a crown.  Would that we all strive to become like them as the seasons of our own lives change. 

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