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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

It is no secret that we live in a world with suffering and challenges. We may feel like we are being put to the test in our sufferings. We may fear some of the challenges we face in the world.

In today’s gospel,Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.” It is not an earthly kingdom that our Father gives us. It is a place in his heavenly kingdom that He offers. For now, we live in this world by faith.

In faith we trust that God is present in our lives and always caring for us because the Lord has chosen to make us his own. He delivers us from death in this world. At times we might struggle to know that God is with us. We may experience a famine of prayer (aka dryness) but the Lord is always with us. Here we read in Hebrews, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” The beauty we see in nature in the visible world serves as “evidence of things not seen,” God is not seen but we can believe.

God offers us “an inexhaustible treasure in heaven.” Do we make this the treasure we seek? Is this where our heart is?

If we follow Jesus as the way and the truth and the life (John 14:6), we will receive the treasure of Heaven. For now we must wait, standing ready for the Second Coming of Jesus. Jesus assures us, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.

We ask God for the grace we need to remain vigilant always for we do not know the hour of his return. How does God give us grace? One of the most evident ways is in the sacraments. It begins in Baptism. God feeds us in the Eucharist, the very Body and Blood of Jesus. God gives us grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation as He forgives our sins. He strengthens married life in the Sacrament of Marriage.

Do we remain vigilant? Or are we like the servant who finds his master delayed in returning “and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk“? Do you go astray when you think no one is looking?

In our reading from Wisdom today we hear, “Your people awaited the salvation of the just and the destruction of their foes. For when you punished our adversaries, in this you glorified us.” God assures us of “the salvation of the just.” God also assures us that those who do not follow him will face their “destruction” in Hell. (Let us pray for their conversion before then.) When they face their punishment, we will be glorified. It will be evident that we have followed the Lord’s ways when we are raised up.

For now, just as Abraham “sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob” by faith, so too we live in this world as a foreign land. This world is not where God created us to spend eternity. Our home in this world is only temporary (thus we dwell in tents).

It is not always easy to follow the Lord’s ways. It requires vigilance. Jesus says the person who “was ignorant of his master’s will” will only receive a light beating for their sins. It might seem like ignorance is bliss but if we know the Lord has something to say, then we are not ignorant. We ask the Holy Spirit to help us more fully understand for, as Jesus says, “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” God has made us his children in Baptism. He feeds us with the Eucharist. We need to follow him, vigilant in his ways.

God has promised something wonderful for those who follow him. For now, borrowing from the Letter to the Hebrews, we live as “strangers and aliens on earth…seeking a homeland…a better homeland, a heavenly one.”

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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