If I don’t lose my shirt on bandwidth I will be putting up my homilies on the internet in mp3 fashion. I just got a new recorder at Sam’s and I think I got this figured out. Let me know if you can get it. Click on the link.
And for those of you less high tech here is the text version:
Homily – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Liturgical Year of the Church runs from the first Sunday of Advent until Christ the King Sunday. We will celebrate Christ the King Sunday next week and thus close out our year. As we draw closer to the end of the year the readings in the Lectionary cycle focus our attention on the Last things: Death, Judgment, the resurrection of the body, heaven, hell and purgatory.
Our readings today remind us of the temporary or passing nature of this planet. Even though we can see and touch wonders of the universe, from the Grand Canyon to rocks from mars, we are reminded that despite their great age they are passing away. Christ says in the first reading today “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.” No matter its age, grandeur, greatness or smallness: the things of this material world are passing away.
That also includes our mortal bodies. The first reading is clear about this. It speaks of the day of judgment coming, blazing like an oven, when the proud and evil doers will be stubble. It also speaks of the resurrection to life for those who fear the Lord. This day is coming for each of us. Each of us will die. Our mortal bodies will pass away. We will face our judgment before the throne of Christ, we will be judged on the state of our souls and we will receive recompense according to what we did in the flesh whether for good or for evil.
Notice that the scripture says we will receive recompense according to what we did, not what we thought or what we believed. It isn’t simply enough to believe in Christ. He must transform our lives. It isn’t enough to call ourselves Christian. We must be Christians. And we must not let the things of this world distract us from our vocation to be holy. But that is what many of us do.
Imagine you have two lots with two houses before you. You can choose in which one you want to live and that will be where you live the rest of your life. One lot has a huge and luxurious mansion, the other a fairly average house that needs some hard work and elbow grease. You can have your choice. Whichever one you choose will belong to you. The last thing you need to know before you make your choice is that the Mansion will be torn down tomorrow but the smaller house should last for another 50 years. Which would you choose? Most people might prefer the mansion but they would choose the house because they would rather have something that will last rather than something they would only have a fleeting pleasure in. When they have to make a choice that will affect the rest of their lives it seems fairly easy.
Yet many of us are not as wise when it comes to our spiritual lives. We are attracted to the glamour of sin and the immediate pleasure it can give us. We rarely think about the long term consequences of our choices because we are to caught up in the pleasure of the moment. We choose for immediate gratification. We convince ourselves that the Mansion of sin won’t be torn down. There won’t be negative consequences to our actions. That we won’t be judged for our actions. Christ loves us and we go to heaven.
Over and over you will hear me tell you it doesn’t work that way. Christ does love us but he also loves those who are in hell. What determines whether or not we get into heaven is if we love Christ. If you truly love someone you don’t constantly do things that hurt that person or offend them. Sin hurt Christ on the Cross and it offends his divine majesty. We cannot continue to live in Sin and expect to go to heaven. We must be saved form our sins. Our lives must be transformed by Christ. We must be willing to leave our sinful ways behind. If we don’t, then we will be stubble, set on fire, with neither root nor branch. Because apart from Christ we can do nothing. To be attached to the tree of life we must be free from the poison of sin. We must abide in Christ. As it says in today’s scripture: it is by our perseverance that we will secure our lives.
Advent is drawing near. It is a penitential season in which we are to reflect on the coming of Christ and his place in our lives. Our liturgical year 2004 is ending never to be seen again. One day, possibly soon, our lives on will pass from this world and the only thing we will have left to us is our souls and they will determine what happens to us for all eternity. We all will die. At that moment our eternal destiny is sealed. The moment our soul separates from our body we will know our eternal destination. We will either go to heaven because we chose to love Christ, be on our way to heaven via purgatory because we loved him imperfectly, or we will choose to love ourselves for all eternity and we will go to hell. The good news is that until we do die, our choice is not fixed. We can choose to change. The choice is yours. Choose well.