Homily – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Homily – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

I must admit to you that I really enjoy the television show on Tuesday nights called 24. I record it every week to watch later. Every week I look forward to it with suspense. The basic premise of the show is that each episode covers one hour of a 24 hour day. During the day there is some crisis that must be solved in the 24 hours or episodes of the show.

The crisis is always one of Terrorism and handled by a counter terrorist unit known as CTU. The crisis is usually of such a nature that many people could die as a result of a terrorist act and the CTU must try to stop it. This year they are trying to stop the release of a biological weapon virus that could result in 90% casualties if it is let out in the US. When a person is infected they have 24 hours left to live.

The question I would like to have you think about is: What if you just found out you had 24 hours to live? What would change in your life? Would your priorities change? Would certain things become more important to you and certain things less important? What would you do with that last 24 hours of your life? Go to work? Go shopping? Watch football? Would you keep on living your life the way you are? Or would you call your family members and tell them you love them? Would you try to reconcile yourself with people you have had fights with? Would you try to reconcile yourself with God and prepare to die? If I told you we had all been infected by this virus in Church today and I went was going to the confessional would any of you get in line? Would there be a fight to get in line?
For many people the knowledge that they only had 24 hours left on this planet would dramatically alter the way they lived their life for the last few hours. Their priorities would change and their relationship with God would move up higher in that list.
For some though it wouldn’t change much at all. These people are the ones that know the truth of today’s readings. That truth is that we don’t get 24 hours notice or time to prepare. We have to be ready at any moment to meet our maker.

Our first readings and the Gospel speak of the second coming of Christ. Christ will return and no one knows the hour. The question is, how many of us will be ready? How many of us will be gathered as the elect it speaks about in the Gospel. How many will rejoice when they see the second coming and how many will be fearful?

The same question can be asked of each one of us about death. Every single one of us here will die. That is the truth. No one lives forever on this earth. It is also true that most of us do not know the hour when we will die. Most of us might think it is far off and distant. Few of us think it might happen today. The question you need to answer is are you ready? Are you prepared? If you found out you had 24 hours to live would you run about frantically trying to get things done you have been putting off or would you be able to peacefully put your affairs in order.

The readings just before advent always focus on the end times for a couple of reasons. One because it is the end of the liturgical year. But more importantly because they are preparing us for Advent.

Advent is a penitential season that we are supposed to use to prepare for the coming of Christ into our hearts at Christmas. When Christ the Messiah came to earth the first time, his parents had to search about from Inn to Inn looking for a place for him to be born. The couldn’t find any room at any of the Inns and Christ had to be born in a Stable. The King of Kings should have been born in a palace but had to settle to be born in a manger he shared with animals.

When we celebrate the birthday of Christ at Christmas, will he need to go from heart to heart looking for a place to lay his head or will he be welcomed with the red carpet rolled out? Advent should be a time in which we reorder our priorities and make room in the Inns of our hearts for Christ. We need to move out anything that is taking up his rightful place. We prepare to receive him in our lives and reflect on changes we need to make.

What do we use Advent for? Is it a time of spiritual preparation or is it a time for shopping, parties and playoffs? If you knew you only had 24 hours left would you be ready to welcome Christ or would you be frantically trying to catch up?

If you are in a state of serious sin or haven’t been to confession in over a year then I strongly urge you to go to confession as soon as possible. Don’t wait for Advent. You might not make it to advent.

If you are not in a state of serious sin or have recently been to confession I urge you to get ready to make Advent a time of true reflection on the birth of our savior and his place in your life. Is it the same place he would have if you only had 24 hours to live?

Very soon the countdown will begin. 24 shopping days left to Christmas. 14, 7, 3 and its here. The retailers don’t want you miss out. They want you to be ready for Christmas and you don’t want to be caught off guard. How would that look?

I don’t want you to be caught off guard either when you die or Christ returns. Should I give you a countdown as well? I can’t. Nobody knows how much time we each have. Are your affairs in order? Is your relationship with Christ where you want it to be when you die or if you knew he was coming back today? Are you ready to meet Christ face to face? You had better be. And if you are not you need to get prepared quickly. After all you might meet Christ tonight.


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