Homily for Sunday, 14 November 2010
Sunday 33: Mal 3:19-20. 2nd Thess 3:7-12. Lk 21:5-19
Jesus tells his followers today that they would reach a good destination but that along the way there they will have to put up with problems and opposition.
All rivers eventually reach the sea, but they have to go through twists and turns along the way. Jesus himself was willing to endure a painful and shameful crucifixion on his way. That gives strength to his promise of Life after death. And the fact is, He did rise from the dead. If not, there's no way his followers would have continued. They started jumping for joy and they established a Church which has survived through many problems.
Of course, desiring problems for oneself is an ugly psychiatric illness (masochism), but being willing to endure problems that the Trinity themselves allow to challenge us, is positive. It matures us. I hope that my MS is maturing me. It's helping me to appreciate the simple things of life such as having air to breathe and having lungs that do the breathing. It's helping me to be humble. Instead of doling out help to others now I have to ask for help much more. If I do so with true humility, then I may actually be helping others!
The Gospel of today speaks of tragedies that are going to occur. It may seem paradoxical since the name 'gospel' actually means 'good news'! The temple of Jerusalem will be destroyed. Christ's own human life will pass through the 'tragedy' of Calvary. But that's exactly the key point of the 'Good News': the resurrection. We're all on the way to another life - a better and eternal Life, and this life in the world is really a 'gestation' or preparation to be born to that one. The night is dark but 'the Sun rises again from on high'... and that's why we're celebrating today's Sunday 'Thanksgiving' (Eucharist). Also, an awareness of the fact that the Eternal Life of Christ has been offered to us, is part of Christian Life on Earth now. It can form a contentment within us that's inspirational - and inspires us to 'carry' whatever crosses come our way with a smile. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a fairly light cross, but even still I'm very grateful for the fact that I can carry mine with a smile. To reach the Eternal Life of God, we have to welcome it and make the effort so that it can be born. It's a gift and a task to be done. St Paul today talks of the challenges of the Christian life. To rid yourself of mundane riches, honors and pleasures sounds at first like some kind of masochism, but it's different to see Paul as a privileged witness of Christ's resurrection and therefore a very 'rich' guy! He's free. We're all called to enjoy that freedom. As St Paul says: he doesn't want admirers but imitators.
We all want to plan our lives and do what we can to assure our future and the future of our loved-ones, but the truth is that only God can do so with total security. It's worthwhile therefore to totally trust in Him. Even family and friends may oppose our options to follow Christ, but we can be free even of that. Many have died as martyrs in following Christ so it's a challenge to really meditate today what Jesus says: "not a hair on your head will be lost" (and it's not a lesson on 'hairdressing'!). Would you be willing to risk your life for Christ.
We all make mistakes sometime in life but I hope to do whatever I can to give testimony of the risen Christ.
Physically, I can't do much but at least I can point like the finger of John the Baptist… to the Word of our divine Savior.