Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time – C

Kuwait City – 15th, 16th, 17th November 2013
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio, His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič
Mal 3:19-20a; 2 Thes 3:7-12; Lk 21:5-19
While the Jews were admiring the great temple, the work of mankind, Jesus told them that there would come a day when it would be completely destroyed. This occurred not too long after, in the year 70 AD, when the Romans sacked Jerusalem, killing a large number of people and reducing the holy temple to rubble. This gospel passage teaches us that the future holds a day when even the most significant human achievements will pass away. It is important therefore, to delve further into its deeper meaning. The true temple, wherein God is encountered, praised and petitioned, is not made of stone but of the heart and soul, the mind and strength of a human being in love with God and in love with the human images of God. It is this temple which we are to hold in a constant state of preparedness so as to be ever ready to welcome the future and the God who has created it for us.
Jesus warns his followers that they will be confronted with persecution, wickedness, false teaching, and temptation. The real enemy of the gospel is Satan whom Jesus calls a “murderer” and “father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan uses fear and hatred to provoke hostility in others towards those who follow Jesus Christ. And what is Jesus’ response to this hostility and opposition? Love, truth and forgiveness. Only love can defeat prejudice, intolerance, hatred, and envy. God’s love purifies our hearts and minds of all that would divide people apart. The truth is also essential for overcoming evil and tribulation in the world. Satan deceives, while sin blinds the heart and mind. Only God’s truth can free us from error and spiritual blindness. The gospel is God’s word of truth and salvation, proclaimed throughout the whole world, even in the midst of opposition and persecution.
Jesus tells his disciples that if they endure to the end they will gain their lives, that is, they will see God’s salvation and inherit eternal life and happiness with God. Endurance in the good is more than human effort and perseverance. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to bear up under any trial, temptation, and form of persecution. Endurance is strengthened with hope, which is the supernatural assurance that we will see God face to face and inherit all the promises he has made. Jesus is our hope, our supreme model and hero, who endured the cross for our sake and rose again to reopen the gates of heaven for us.
What will attract others to the truth and power of the gospel? When they see Christians loving their enemies, joyful in suffering, patient in adversity, pardoning injuries, showing compassion to the hopeless and helpless. Their lives will then speak volumes of their faith. We therefore need not fear the future or any adversary, for God will give us sufficient grace, strength and wisdom, to face any trial and to answer any challenge to our faith. Are you ready to endure to the end and to live your life for Christ as a living temple in order to bear witness to the joy and freedom of the gospel?
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