Sunday of 33rd Week of Ordinary Time C

Perseverance and Prayer Secure One’s Life

Joke: Grandma told her little grandson: “Be a good boy. At the end of the world all the disobedient and bad people will be cast into fiery hell where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  The little boy raised an intelligent doubt. “Grandma, you don’t have any teeth and you always quarrel with others. How would you gnash your teeth when you are cast into hell?” Grandma replied: “You naughty boy, don’t you know that teeth will be provided in hell.”

Coming closer to the end of the liturgical year, the Church puts together all of today’s readings to help us prepare ourselves for the day of the Lord to come for each and every one of us. How should we prepare ourselves in waiting for the Parousia, the day of the Lord to come?

In today’s Gospel, Saint Luke reported the words of Jesus, when people were amazed with the costly temple, saying, “All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” If you’ve ever been in Holy Land, there are many Temples, some Temples are gorgeous, strong, beautifully constructed and sculptured. In that Holy Sepulcher temple, also called the Church of the Resurrection, the most sacred place, there are always hundreds and thousands of people who visit to come and pray. The temple that Jesus mentioned here, perhaps, the third temple that Herod constructed from the second temple which was built by Cyrus the Great after the fall of the Babylonian Empire, the temple of Zerubbabel. The first temple was built by King Solomon, reported in the Book of Deuteronomy (Deut. 12:2-27). The reason that Herod rebuilt this second temple was because it was built like a fortress and was shorter than that of Solomon’s Temple, so he gave an order to reconstruct the temple. After reconstruction, it became the great temple by King Herod the great. This third temple is now called the Dome of the Rock, which is regarded to be occupying the actual space where the Second Temple once stood. However, some scholars refute that fact to this day.

After Jesus mentioned that the costly temple will be torn down and that there will no longer be a single stone upon another stone left, they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” Famous questions: When will that day come? And what sign will there be? Have you & I ever asked these 2 questions in our lives? Perhaps, not the day of the Lord to come, but the day when you ask these questions such as: When will I see my spouse stop using drug, alcohol, or drinking? When will I see my spouse stop criticizing me or judging me but believing in me? When will I see my spouse change because I cannot handle it anymore? What sign will you give me to confirm that you changed?

To answer to the questions of when will the Lord come and what sign will there be, the Lord Jesus invites us, reported in today’s Gospel, to be persevering in our Christian life. The question then is, how should we continue persevering while waiting for the Lord to come in our daily Christian living?

In today’s second reading, Saint Paul beautifully reminds the Thessalonians community and to each and every one of us saying, “In toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you.” “We hear,” Saint Paul continues, “that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others.” In other words, as we await for the day of the Lord to come, let us conscientiously fulfill our Christian obligations. Each member of the Church needs to participate in the life of the Church. Just as the eye cannot say to the feet, I don’t need you; or the hands cannot say to the ears, I don’t need you; or the hair cannot say to the head, I don’t need you, each part of the body needs each other just as each member of the Church needs each other. So how could we engage into the needs of each other in the Church if we do not fulfill our own obligations to build the Church? How would we do it if it’s not to learn to be persevering in our Christian daily life by sacrifice our own need and our own want to give a hand to build up our community and our Church?

In his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera (20 November 2016), Pope Francis designated the thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time as a “World Day of the Poor.” He wrote, “It will be a day that will help communities and each baptized person to reflect on how poverty is at the heart of the Gospel and on the fact that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes, there can be no justice or social peace. This day will represent a genuine form of new evangelization which can renew the face of the Church as she perseveres in her perennial activity of pastoral conversion and witness to mercy.” How should you and I persevere in our Christian daily life if it’s not to pay attention to one another in your own house, in school, at work, in your own community? It is not to pay attention to criticize or to judge one another, but to help one another. We do not know when the day of the Lord will come, but we do know that at our present moment, our loved one(s) are still with us. Our present moment is so fragile and precious that when it’s gone, we cannot get it back. By looking at the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem today, we should ask ourselves is that the way we want to take care of our own temple? Life is fragile, learn to handle it with prayer and perseverance. We only get one shot at life. There is no rehearsal whatsoever. Therefore, it is vital that we reflect on life itself in waiting for the day of the Lord to come as we live with perseverance and prayer. Decision is yours.


Weekend Homilies 2019

Homilies by Fr. Joseph Nguyen

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