33rd Sunday of the ordinary time of the year C
Malachi 4:1-2 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 Luke 21: 5-19
Theme: Steadfastness in discipleship
The prophet Malachi is confronted with a question that continues to come to Disciples of Christ in our daily lives. The question is: why is it that evil doers continue to flourish, while the upright suffer? Put in another way, a lady once asked me, why is it that I have not been able to make babies with my husband; even though doctors have said I and my husband are medically okay? I have lived all my life with the fear of God. In the university, I had friends who lived very rough lives; but today they all have children in their marriages. Did I do anything wrong to have lived a good life? It is a similar situation that gave rise to the 1st reading of today. The words of the prophet are simply saying that the upright should remain steadfast until the end and trust in God, for He never disappoints those who trust in Him. Always remember that His timing is different from our own, but He never comes late. He intervenes when it matters most. Evil will never triumph over the good or darkness over light. Remain upright in all your dealings and trust in God, He will bless all your efforts. The blessings of God are permanent and eternal. The apparent success of evil doers is simply something that will not be able to stand the test of time; it is fleeting.
In the 2nd reading of today we see how St. Paul admonishes the church in Thessalonica about the attitude of some of them. Interestingly, whenever the issue of the end time is discussed, people respond to it in different ways. Today’s second reading presents to us a way through which some Christians respond to it. They simply stopped working and were waiting patiently for the coming of the end time. Paul’s admonition is for us to realize that such a step will be destructive on the long run. We should rather continue to do our usual daily task, since no one is certain of the day or hour that it will happen. While the wait continues, we must work if we do not want to become burdens to other people. In the recent past, we have heard about pastor’s forecasting the day the world will come to an end. People respond to such assertions differently; some people sell all their belongings and give the money to the poor, while others go to the church to keep vigil. Interestingly, the world has not come to an end yet. Paul is encouraging all of us to remain steadfast in our good works and worry less about the end time. If we live a good life, we have no reason to be agitated about the end time. This is because it will not come upon us like a thief in the night; because we will be ready and prepared.
The gospel reading from St. Luke’s gospel talks about signs that will be indicators that the end time is close at hand. A friend asked me a few days ago, Padre the things mentioned in this Sundays gospel is already happening. Does it mean the end of the world is close at hand? My answer to him was, worry less about the end time and live your life as a true testimony before people. Let us strive to live lives that are pleasing to God at all times and worry less about the end. If we can live good lives according to the teachings of Christ, the fear for the end time will be less in our lives. The encouragement coming from Jesus in the gospel is a message of hope for all true Disciples of Christ. He is a faithful God that is trusted and reliable. The persecution and challenges that are encountered by the people of God as a result of their discipleship will always be there, but the good news is that they always have God on their side. By implication, we will be victorious!
It is my prayer that God will grant us a steadfast spirit until the end of time. May almighty God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.