A HOMILY FOR THE THIRTY-THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “B” – 11/18/18 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
If Jesus came back, if the Son of Man returned upon the earth, in just a few minutes from now, and you knew that it was going to happen, what would you do? How would you spend your final minutes before the Second Coming? Would you pray? Would you try and go to Confession? Would you call or text loved ones? Would you delete your browsing history? There’s probably a lot of things that all of us would like to do. We wonder what it will be like on that day? Today’s Gospel says that Jesus will come in the clouds, with great power and glory, and that He will send out His angels to gather His elect from the ends of the earth to the end of the sky. What will that be that be like? How much time will we have? And what will we do with those last few minutes?
This past week, I asked several of our School students what they would do, if they knew Jesus was coming back, and they had just a few minutes to wrap things up. The answers were enlightening! One of the things that I heard the most, was, that they would take care of their pets, make sure they had food and water. Apparently, we have a lot of pets that aren’t so well taken care of, and it is going to take Jesus’ return to get them food and water. One little girl told me that she would spend her birthday money that she had been saving for quite a while, because she knew it wasn’t going to be any good in Heaven. A young boy from the fourth grade told me that he would very quickly clean his room, because that’s what made his Mom happy. And he didn’t want his Mom to be unhappy or angry when Jesus returned. Several did say that they would pray or read the Bible. But my favorite was the little guy who told me that he would take a shower, because he wanted to be all fresh and clean, for Jesus’ return, and for his own trip home to Heaven. We should all be fresh and clean when it comes time for us to go home to Heaven!
As we draw near to the end of the liturgical year, we notice that the readings this week at Mass seem to focus on the events that will occur at the end of time. Our readings this weekend call all of us to get ready, to be prepared, and to be people waiting for Jesus’ return.
In our first reading today from Daniel, written at the time of the Babylonian Exile, more than five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the Prophet Daniel speaks of salvation and damnation. In a terrible time for the Jewish people, a time of war and enslavement, Daniel’s vision speaks of God’s ultimate triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness, something, of course, that we all know, God going to accomplish in His Son, Jesus Christ, both on earth and in Heaven.
In a similar way, in Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is also talking about the end times, when the Son of Man will come in the clouds with great power and glory. Of that day or hour, no one knows, Jesus said. It’s why we all always need to be prepared and ready. It is going to happen. And we are to be ready at all times! We need to think and pray about what we will be doing when Jesus’ returns, so that we don’t get caught off guard! Jesus seems to indicate that the Day of the Lord
is always at hand. We are to be ready every day! We are to live in a right relationship with God and with one another every day. To not do so, is to be unprepared! Perhaps if we knew the day or the hour, if we knew the day of our own deaths or the moment of Christ’s return, we might procrastinate and delay living the life of faith, and even worse, put off the rooting out of sin from our lives. Instead, Jesus has left us in a healthy state of suspense, where we are anticipating His return, and trying to live the corporal and spiritual works of mercy every day, so that we can always be found ready upon His return.
Finally, today, our second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews, captures all of this beautiful mystery together perfectly, reminding us how in the Mass, at the Altar of the Lord, as we shall see in just a few minutes, Christ has made perfect those who are being consecrated. At the Eucharist, Christ makes us ready for His return. He prepares us for Heaven in the best way possible. As we get ready to celebrate the end of our liturgical year next weekend, and the beginning of our Advent season the week after that, let us be mindful that Heaven and Earth will pass away, but the saving words and promises of our Lord are what lasts forever.
What would you do if Jesus was about to return? Going to Mass would be a great place to start. But let us live every day for Him and for His Second Coming. Let’s be ready!
+ May God bless us this week and keep us ready, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!