19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Psalm 93:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22 (17b)
Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19
August 11, 2019
“Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.”
The Lord has chosen to make all of us his children. As our Father, He chooses to be “our help and our shield.” Yet, we need to realize that doesn’t mean we get what we want when we want it.
Sometimes, we have to wait for the Lord, we need to wait for the appointed time. I don’t know about you but I know I do not like to wait.
Jesus speaks today of the hour of his Second Coming. He speaks using a parable of the servants awaiting the master’s return. They did not know the hour but they were expected to be ready.
We do not know the hour when the Son of Man will come but we are expected to be ready.
God called Abraham to a new land. He did not tell Abraham where it was yet “by faith Abraham obeyed…by faith he sojourned,” letting the Lord lead him. He was patient, knowing the Lord would provide in his own time.
The first disciples lived expected the Second Coming to happen immediately. That was 2,000 years ago. It hasn’t happened yet. So, today we don’t live with any sense of urgency. That means many people have slacked off and choose earthly pleasurers over following the Lord’s way today. They might think they will have time to change.
Jesus is clear that the Son of Man will come “at an hour you do not expect.” Elsewhere he speaks of how there will be earthquakes, wars, and insurrections as signs of the coming.
Do you watch the news on a regular basis? You can watch news reports about earthquakes. Sometimes it seems to me that there are more earthquakes happening in recent years? Is that a sign of the Second Coming?
The news also reports on terrorist attacks, wars, and insurrections. Is this a sign of the Second Coming? If not, the shootings and violence still point to the rise of evil and people turning away from the Lord’s way.
What is our response to be? It could be a response of fear. There I turn to Jesus’ words “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.”
Faith, belief in God and knowledge of his kingdom, is God’s free gift to us. He wants us to have hope. The first reading from the Book of Wisdom reminds how the Israelites knew when the Passover would come so they would be prepared. Jesus speaks of the Second Coming so that we might be prepared and have hope of what is to come.
God does not want us to live our whole lives in fear. God wants us to have hope. That’s why He sent Jesus. Jesus came and died for us on the Crucifix not to install fear of our sins but to give us hope of God’s merciful forgiveness.
We need to be “ready.” We need to keep “vigilant.” We need to be “prepared.”
Are you scared by the news of more shootings? Do you feel powerless to stop it? I know people who say they don’t watch the news because it is too depressing.
What can we do to stop it? How can we prepare ourselves?
For earthly preparation, such acts of violence should serve as a reminder that wherever we go, we should be aware of our surroundings. If something bad is to happen, where are the exits (i.e. where can I run to for safety)? If I can’t escape, where can I hide? If I can’t hide, how can I defend myself?
Of course, the more ideal thing is to keep these events from happening but what can someone like me do? If you see someone saying or doing things that might indicate they are planning an attack, report it to the police. Last weekend you probably heard the news of the shootings in Texas and Ohio. After that, did you hear Monday or Tuesday of the man who was arrested before he carried out an attack because his grandmother turned him because she knew something was wrong?
Thinking as Christians, we can we do? Some of these shootings are done by people with mental health issues. Do we advocate for better availability of help for those with mental health problems? It isn’t just the individual’s problem. God calls us to love our neighbor. Thus, mental health is a societal problem.
For many in society, their decisions are always about what’s in it for them. As Christians, we need to think about how our actions affect others. For instance, if I use more than I need of something, does that keep others from having what they need. Does that lead them to steal and/or acts of violence?
If I set aside selfish desires, then can I better show love and compassion for others? Then, in turn others might turn from “hate”, choosing instead to love one another.
Of course, we can always pray. For example, after Mass we pray the St. Michael Prayer together. We can read in the Book of Revelation of St. Michael the Archangel leading the battle against the dragon. We need his help and God’s grace in our battle against evil
The Christian response to “hate” is not hate. You can’t defeat hate with more hate but love can transform the world. Let us love others as God loves us.