Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Across the street from us is a large ceme­tery in which are buried many good peo­ple. And prob­a­bly some bad ones. Want to know some­thing they all shared in com­mon dur­ing their lives? They all believe at some lev­el that the world would end in their life­time. It’s human nature.

We can know intel­lec­tu­al­ly that it’s prob­a­bly not going to hap­pen. We can tell our­selves that the ceme­ter­ies of the world are full of peo­ple whose lives end­ed before the Sec­ond Com­ing and that one day we will join them, almost cer­tain­ly before Christ returns and the final judg­ment is ren­dered.

Still, there’s a part of us that believes we will be here until the end… and that’s fine, because at some point some­one is going to be right. A lot of some­ones are going to be right. Because it does end. The day of the Lord comes, as Paul writes, like a thief in the night.

Read­ings in recent weeks have served to remind us to be watch­ful, be awake, be sober, be wise. They have remind­ed us to remain in the light and to be ready. In today’s sec­ond read­ing, Paul writes that When peo­ple are say­ing, “Peace and secu­ri­ty,” then sud­den dis­as­ter comes upon them … and they will not escape.

Be vig­i­lant. Be watch­ful. Be awake. Be ready. Be sober and be wise. Be all of these things, but more than any­thing else be not afraid.

We have no need of fear, for our strength comes from the Lord. Paul writes that all of you are chil­dren of the light and chil­dren of the day. And our strength comes from the light and from the Lord who made the light and made the day. And who made us, and desires that none of us be lost.

We can look around at our world, and there is plen­ty to make us fear. We are sur­round­ed by mad­ness. Babies mur­dered in the womb. Chil­dren starv­ing in a world where moun­tains of food are thrown away dai­ly. Drug fueled crime that is the stuff of night­mares.

Are peo­ple say­ing, “peace and secu­ri­ty”? Yes. Are they believ­able? Not very. And yet in the face of all this, I tell you: be not afraid. Why? Because our peace and our secu­ri­ty is our faith in God. Our love for God. And – most impor­tant­ly – God’s love for us.

Will the state of the world get worse? Prob­a­bly. Short of divine inter­ven­tion or every Chris­t­ian in the world pray­ing the Rosary as if his or her life depends on it, it seems like­ly things will get worse. Some things. But some things also get bet­ter. Which do you want to be a part of?

Do you want to be respon­si­ble for things get­ting worse or for things get­ting bet­ter? Have you ever asked your­self that ques­tion – seri­ous­ly asked it – and made your­self answer it? It’s worth ask­ing.

When have you made the world worse? And it doesn’t have to be on the scale of geno­cide; every sin­gle sin counts, even the small­est unchar­i­ta­ble thought. When have you made the world bet­ter? Again, you don’t have to sur­pass Moth­er There­sa in acts of char­i­ty to make the world bet­ter; a sim­ple kind word to a stranger is enough. Do they bal­ance?

I hope they don’t. The ser­vant in today’s Gospel who was giv­en one tal­ent mere­ly bal­anced. He returned nei­ther more nor less, and for that he was called use­less and thrown into the dark­ness.

The oth­er two ser­vants were giv­en an amount based on the master’s judg­ment of their abil­i­ty and each of them returned twice what they were giv­en. For this, they were reward­ed and giv­en even more.

So, ask your­self: What have I been giv­en? What good have I enjoyed in my life? What has God entrust­ed me with? And then ask your­self, what have I done to dou­ble that which I have been giv­en so that good may be returned to God for the glo­ry of God. By doing our own acts of good when and where we can, we can all of us change the face of the world. We can’t afford to wait for any­one else to start it, because it starts with you and it starts with me.

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