Homily for the thirty-third Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 21:5-19
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" As some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, Jesus said, «As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.»
 
" And they asked him, «Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?» And he said, «Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!' and, `The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.»
 
" Then he said to them, «Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony. Settle it therefore in your minds, not to meditate beforehand how to answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" As some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, Jesus said, «As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.» And they asked him, «Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?» And he said, «Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!' and, `The time is at hand!' Do not go after them.» "
 
Each year, towards the end of the liturgical year, the Church proposes, for the Sunday readings, texts that speak to us about the end times. In fact, the complete cycle of the liturgical year evokes the entire life of the Church, from its birth until its final resurrection in Christ. Today, Jesus speaks to us about signs that will occur before his return to earth. He begins by warning us against false prophets: "Do not go after them," he says.
 
This passage can also be found in the gospel of Saint Matthew, in which the Lord says the following: "Then if any one says to you, `Lo, here is the Christ!' or `There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise..." (Mt. 24:23-24) False prophets act in a partial manner: they are either in one place or in another, but not all over the world. A false prophet, since he doesn't possess the Spirit of God, is not universal, he is not Catholic (this word means 'universal'). On the other hand, Christ himself, and therefore also the true prophet who is united to him through faith, manifests his presence in an universal manner, all over the earth: "For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man." (Mt. 24:27)
 
" «When you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once.» "
 
Are there more wars and revolutions today than there were in the time of the Lord, or in any other period of history? If we base our answer on the denomination of "world war" - and there have been two this century - we can answer affirmatively. The further humanity goes in time, the closer it comes to the day when Christ will return to earth in glory. However, the further on humanity goes in time, the more wars and revolutions there seem to be. The word of the Lord, therefore, increasingly appears well-founded: it is being realized in the world around us more and more.
 
However, Jesus seems to put the accent on the word "to hear" ("When you hear"). Now, it is clear that, today, especially since the invention of the radio (broadcasting), we can listen to the news and know, almost to the second, what is happening all around the world, and so therefore we can hear (and, alas, we do hear) news of the wars and revolutions which are going on all over the globe. In this sense, the word of Jesus ("When you hear of wars and tumults") has just recently been fulfilled...
 
" «But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be a time for you to bear testimony.» "
 
After having prophesied various cataclysms and misfortunes which will befall the world, Jesus announces that, before all this would take place, the elect of God will have to bear witness to their Lord: "This will be a time for you to bear testimony." This testimony will be trying and painful: "They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake." But it will be of benefit to all of humanity! In fact, this will be our only consolation.
 
The testimony of the elect of God will benefit all of humanity! For if the elect of God faithfully bear witness before their persecutors, then the many sufferings, cataclysms, and other misfortunes announced by the Lord will probably not take place, or at the very least they will be greatly mitigated and reduced in magnitude. This is why Jesus says: "But before all this...," in order to specify that these events are ordered in time: first the testimony of the elect of God, and then the cataclysms and misfortunes, the latter being conditioned on the former.
 
" «But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.» "
 
Be confident! Providence watches over us! But never forget: we don't know when Christ will return. It could be tonight or tomorrow... So be vigilant, and above all don't hesitate to bear witness to the Lord from now on! If all of us are faithful to God and courageously testify to our faith, then there is no doubt that the Lord will take our testimony into account for the salvation of the whole world! May Mary help us through her almighty intercession! Together, let us celebrate this Mass, which allows us to render glory to God and to openly testify to our faith in Christ, who died and rose again!
 

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