JOKES OF THE WEEK

#1: Fear of mother-in-law’s rising

A man from the U.S. took his family to Israel to see the places where Jesus had lived and died. He was forced to include his troublesome mother-in-law in the tour party. While in the Holy Land, his mother-in-law died. An undertaker in Tel Aviv explained that he could ship the body home to Wisconsin at a cost of $10,000 or the body could be buried in Israel for US $500. The man says, “We’ll ship her home.” The undertaker asks, “Are you sure? That’s an awfully big expense and we can do a very nice burial here right in the Valley of Josephat.” The man replies, “Look, 2000 years ago they buried Jesus here and three days later he rose from the dead. Besides, during his public ministry he raised Lazarus from the tomb. I can feel his invisible presence all over here in the Holy Land. So, I just can’t take that chance in the case of my mother-in-law.”

# 2: Letting the “left behind” read the newspaper report on the “rapture.”

The Evangelical printer explained to the visitors: “In the printing trade, the largest print type that can be used on a front-page headline is called “Second Coming Type”. One of the visitors asked: “If Christ has come back, who will be left to put out the newspaper?” “Well,” said the printer, “the good people are caught up in the air and go to Heaven, so the reporters would be left behind to publish the newspaper for the evil people.”

# 3: The Messiah is Jewish

A Protestant Minister and a Catholic Priest enjoyed teasing their Rabbi friend, continually asking him when he was going to convert to their Faith. When the Christmas season rolled around, the Rabbi sent them a card with the following note: “Season’s Greetings! Roses are reddish, Violets are bluish; When the Messiah comes, you’ll wish you were Jewish!!”

# 4: “The beginning of a new day”

Some time ago a man was staying in a chalet (hotel) in the Swiss Alps. Early one morning he heard what sounded like an earthquake. Hurriedly he got out of bed and ran to the front desk and asked if there was something wrong, if the mountains were breaking up? He was scared. The man at the front desk explained, “Sir, we are on the west side of the mountain. As the sun comes up in the east, and the snow and ice expand as they begin to get warm. The expansion causes a large crashing noise. It’s not the end of the world or the Second Coming of Jesus; it’s just the beginning of a new day.”

# 5: “God won!”

A little boy walked into his Dad’s room just as his Dad finished reading the Bible. The son asked, “What are you reading?’ The Father replied, “I am reading the book of Revelation, the last book of the Holy Bible.” The little boy curiously asked, “What’s it about? His dad replied, “It’s about God’s final battle against evil.” The little boy excitedly asked, “Who won?” The Father stooped down to his boy’s eye level and said, “God won.”

#6: “Behold, I come!”

One young clergyman preaching his first sermon, was very nervous. He started with the text, “Behold I come!” Then his mind went blank. He bravely repeated, “Behold I come!” Still his frightened brain wouldn’t function. So he leaned over the pulpit and repeated once more, “Behold I come!” At that moment the pulpit collapsed. He tumbled over into the lap of a lady. He got up and, red-faced, stammered, “Oh, I’m sorry! Please forgive me!” The lady was not upset in the least and replied, “That’s all right. I should have been expecting you. After all you warned me three times!” ( Msgr. Arthur Tonne)

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Fr. Tony’s 8-Minute Homily

1B Advent

Fr. Tony’s Homily (everything on one page)

Introduction

The central theme of today’s readings is Jesus’ warning to us to be alert, watchful and prepared because Christ’s Second Coming, coinciding with the end of the world, can occur at any time. People, in general, used to have a paranoid fear about the end of the world. They expected it in A.D. 204, 999 and 2000. The title of a best-seller published in 1988 was 101 Reasons Why Christ Returns in 1988. An extremely popular film released in 1999 about Christ’s Second Coming was Omega Code, and another film released in 2005 was Left Behind. Excessive fear of the tribulations accompanying the end of the world led the followers of a religious cult led by Jim Jones (in 1978), and followers of another cult called Heaven’s Gate (in 1997), to commit mass suicide.

But Jesus, in today’s Gospel, gives us the assurance that we need not be afraid of the end of the world, Christ’s Second Coming and the Last Judgment if we remain alert and prepared. The Church invites us on this first Sunday of Advent to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming, first by properly celebrating during this Christmas season the fond memory of Christ’s first coming 2000 years ago, second, by experiencing Christ’s daily advent or coming in the Eucharistic celebrations, in the Holy Bible and in the worshipping community, and third, by preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming which, for us, will happen at the moment of our deaths or at the end of the World.

Starter Anecdote(s)

Select one or two of the following illustrations to insert here. View more by clicking on the “ILLUSTRATIONS” tab above. Feel free to insert more throughout the homily if so desired (but this should not be overdone).
Illustration A — Ready or not, here I come

Ready or not, here I come

When you were a child, did you play the game, Hide and Seek? If you did, you will remember that the person who was “it” closed his eyes while the rest went to hide. To give them time to hide, the child started counting: 5, 10, 15, 20 and up to 100. Then he would say, “Ready or not, here I come!” The point of the game was to hide oneself so well that the leader could not find you, for if he found you, and beat you back to the goal, you had to be “it” the next go-around. The secret of the game was preparing oneself against being found and caught.

With excitement we heard the words, “Ready or not — here I come!” In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus is saying to the world, “Ready or not — here I come.” In chapter 13 of Mark, Jesus tells us that he will be returning to the earth “with great power and glory.” As in the game, only this is not a game, there is a counting and an accounting going on right now. It is a countdown before the blast of his appearance on earth a second time to judge the world and to gather his faithful to himself.

(Fr. Tony) http://frtonyshomilies.com/
Illustration B — Endtime Paranoia

Endtime Paranoia

In A.D. 204, Hippolytus, a Christian writer in Rome, recorded that a Bishop was convinced that the Lord was going to return immediately. He urged his followers to sell all of their land and possessions and to follow him into the wilderness to await the Lord’s coming.

At the end of the first millennium, anticipation of the Second Coming ran high. On the last day of 999, the basilica of St. Peter’s at Rome was filled with people who were weeping and trembling waiting for the world to end.

It was in 1978 that the media flashed the shocking news of the mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana of 914 American men and women, members of a doomsday cult, The Peoples Temple, at the instruction of their paranoid leader Rev. Warren (Jim) Jones.

In 1988, Rev. Colin Deal published a book titled Christ Returns by 1988 – 101 Reasons Why. In the same year, Edgar Whisenant, a NASA engineer used his mathematical skills to set a date for the return of Jesus. He wrote a book called, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Take Place in 1988. Another very popular book, published in 1989, was 89 Reasons Why the World will End in 1989.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses have frightened gullible followers at least three times during the last century with their “end of the world” predictions.

The film Omega Code, released in October 1999, was an independent movie funded by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the largest Evangelical Christian TV network in the U.S., and promoted by a team of 2,400 U.S. Evangelical pastors.  The plot involved the portrayal of the “rapture,” when “born again” and “saved” Christians, both alive and dead, will, it is claimed, fly upwards in the air to meet Jesus on his Second Coming.  It was rated in the top 10 highest-grossing movies for October 1999.

It was in March 1997, that 39 members (21 women and 18 men, ranging in age from 26 to 72), of a California cult called Heaven’s Gate, headed by Marshall Applewhite, exploded onto the national scene with their mass suicide in a luxurious mansion at Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego in California. This was their preparation for being safely transported to Heaven by a UFO, thus avoiding the tribulations accompanying the immediate end of the world.

It was in 1995 that the landmark apocalyptic thriller, Left Behind (a series of 12 novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins — Left Behind, Tribulation Force, Nicolae, Soul Harvest, Apollyon, Assassins, The Indwelling, The Mark, Desecration, The Remnant, Armageddon, and Glorious Appearing) began hitting Christian bookstores. Since then, the Left Behind series and its related books have sold over 62 million copies, generating 650 million dollars in sales. Three more books in the series are expected. In October 2005, a big budget film, Left Behind, based on this novel series, was released for showing in all Evangelical Christian parishes. This is how modern man reacts to the coming end of the world.

Today’s readings remind us that along with our special spiritual preparation for Christmas, we should be prepared and  ready  to meet Jesus at all times, whether at the end of our lives or the end  of the world, whichever comes first.

Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)
Illustration C — Pygmalion and Galetea

Pygmalion and Galatea

Pygmalion, the sculptor, is one of the most famous characters in the myths of ancient Greece. Because he could not find any woman that measured up to his ideal of womanhood, he decided not to marry. Instead, he undertook to carve a statue of a woman that fulfilled his dreams. The statue that he carved was outstandingly beautiful. He treated it as if it were real, dressing it in the loveliest clothing, decorating it with jewelry of gold and precious stones.

Next time he visited the temple of Venus, the goddess of love, he timidly prayed that she give him a wife “like my statue.” Venus took note of the prayer. When Pygmalion returned home and kissed his beautiful statue, it came to life. Taking the name Galatea, she accepted Pygmalion’s hand in marriage.

Fact is even more wonderful than fiction. God the creator is the divine sculptor. He shaped each one of us, and then fell in love with those whom he had made. “…O Lord, you are our Father, we are the clay and you are the potter; we are all the work of Your hands.” (Isaiah 64:7. Today’s first reading). (Father Robert F. McNamara).

Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Scripture Lessons Summarized

Fr. Tony’s unabridged edition for this section can be found by clicking on the “COMMENTARY” tab above. Feel free to include more detail if so desired.

In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah prays for God’s active presence so that the Jewish community, returned from Babylonian exile, may remain faithful to their God.

In the second reading, St. Paul prays for the reconversion of Christians in Corinth who have misused their gifts and charisms and remain ill-prepared for Christ’s Second Coming.

In today’s Gospel, using the short parable of the servants and gatekeeper of an absentee master who could return at any time, Jesus instructs his followers to be alert and watchful while doing their Christian duties with sincerity. The gatekeeper and the household servants are expected to be ever vigilant because their master is sure to return. Although the time of his return is uncertain, but the reward or punishment is sure and certain.

Life Message

Fr. Tony’s unabridged versions can be found by clicking on the “LIFE MESSAGES” tab above. Feel free to include more detail if so desired.

The message of today’s Scripture is that we should live in the living presence of Jesus every day waiting for his Second Coming. We can experience Christ’s living presence in the Holy Eucharist, in the Holy Bible, in our worshiping community in our parish, in our family, in our own souls and in everyone around us. The early Christians experienced it, and that is why the mutual greeting among Christians was not “Hi!” or “Good Morning!” but the Aramaic, “Maran Atha” which means “Come, Lord Jesus.” This greeting acknowledged Jesus present in each of them and about to return. May God bless you and keep you ever prepared for Christ’s second coming.

Fr. Tony’s Illustrations

1B Advent

This video takes you to the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome, Italy.

More of Fr. Tony’s illustrations

St Mary Major’s empty throne

A powerful symbol of God’s faithfulness is found in an ancient work of art in one of Rome’s most beautiful basilicas. The Basilica of St Mary Major was the very first Church in the West dedicated to the memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was constructed in the 400s, and many of its original mosaics have survived. A mosaic located on the triumphal arch high above the main altar, in the very focal point of the Basilica, depicts something very strange: a lavish, gorgeously decorated throne, which happens to be completely empty.

That empty throne is the perfect symbol for Advent. On the one hand, it reminds us of the Incarnation. Jesus, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, left his heavenly throne when, out of infinite love, he came to dwell among us here on earth and become our salvation. This powerful reference to the Incarnation is echoed by the Basilica’s most famous relic: pieces of the crib that Mary used for the baby Jesus. Every year thousands of pilgrims still visit those relics today. The location of the empty-throne mosaic – directly above the high altar – also reminds us that Christ continues his incarnation, by coming down to dwell among us at every Mass, in the Eucharist.

But the empty throne also reminds us of God’s other promise – that Jesus will come again to bring his Kingdom to fulfillment. Seeing the empty throne stirs our hearts with a desire for Jesus to return and to wipe away all our sorrows, forever. It makes our hearts ring with the same cry we heard in today’s First Reading and Psalm: “Rouse your power, and come to save us.” The empty throne is proof that God fulfilled one promise on the first Christmas Day, and will certainly fulfill another in the days to come.

[E-Priest.] (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Gee, I guess I just wasn’t ready

There’s an amusing commercial on television in which a man is about to let go of his bowling ball as he eyes the pins at the end of the lane. Just as he is ready to release the ball, he gets lifted out of himself by two men in sparkling white suits and goes walking off across the lanes, through the walls of the building and onto a staircase surrounded by clouds. At first he doesn’t understand what in the world is going on but then it suddenly dawns on him. He has just died. He looks at the two white-suited men at his side and asks in disbelief, “Are you sure it was supposed to be me? I was working on a string of strikes!” Convinced there was no mistake, he goes off reluctantly and shrugs, “Gee, I guess I just wasn’t ready.” The point of the commercial is that one has to be ready all the time and for the sponsor that means having insurance, a “piece-of-the-rock.” That’s the way to be ready.

Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Do you have earthquake insurance?

We’ve been hearing about the earthquakes in many parts of the world. Do you have a weather alert radio? What about health insurance/car insurance/house insurance? Do you have smoke and fire detectors…maybe also CO2 detectors in your home? Do you wear a seat belt when you are in a car? What about an alarm system for your home and business?

There are many ways that we are “watchful and ready” for things in this life – that we hope and pray will never happen. But what about our eternal life – our spiritual life with Jesus – that we KNOW WILL HAPPEN? Why is it that so many in our world do so much about this temporary physical world and so little with the spiritual, eternal world?

This weekend we begin the Church season of Advent with the three-fold reminder that Jesus came (Christmas), He comes (Word & Sacraments), and He is coming again (as Savior or Judge).

Rev Myers – Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

The challenge of waiting

“In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, Jewish psychiatrist Viktor Frankl tells the story of how he survived the atrocities of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Frankl says one of the worst sufferings at Auschwitz was waiting: waiting for the war to end; waiting for an uncertain date of release and waiting for death to end the agony. This waiting caused some prisoners to lose sight of future goals, to let go of their grip on present realities and give up the struggle. This same waiting made others like Frankl accept it as a challenge, as a test to their inner strength and a chance to discover deeper dimensions of freedom.”

Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Wake up!

Do you remember the movie Awakening? Robert De Niro plays the part of a patient who, for thirty years, does not move or speak. A particularly, sensitive and enterprising doctor tries out some new theories and lo and behold, the patient begins to move around, talk and feel. For a brief period he returns to this world and announces to those amazed folks around him that he is back: “I have been away for quite some time…. now I am back.” He becomes gradually aware of the love and concern that surrounds him and what is really alive inside of his heart and soul. –It is never too late to wake up. Morning is when you wake up. Advent is a nice time to wake up. Wake up to give an account of your stewardship. Wake up into a time for giving and sharing, a time that we are called to be thankful and prepare our hearts for the Christ child. Wake up and open your eyes in Faith to see God present and active in your life and in your world.

John Pichappilly in The Table of the Word; quoted by Fr. Botelho. Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

I became awake

The spiritual life is first of all a matter of being awake,” said Thomas Merton. A story comes to us from Eastern mysticism: A monk asked, “Abbot, what has God’s wisdom taught you? Did you become divine?” “Not at all!” “Did you become a saint?” “No, as you can clearly see.” “What then, O Abbot?” “I became awake!” — Advent is the time of a spiritual awakening to see and experience the presence of the Messiah in our midst. (James Philips in Pastoral Life; quoted by Fr. Botelho).

Fr. Tony (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Fr. Tony’s Life Messages

1B Advent

Advent project of being alert and watchful

An Advent project of being alert and watchful in the spirit of today’s Gospel.  Every morning when we get up, let us pray, “Lord, show me someone today with whom I may share your love, mercy and forgiveness.”  Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Whatever you do in your family, for your children, for your husband, for your wife, you do for Jesus.”  Every night when we go to bed, let us ask ourselves, “Where have I found Christ today?”  The answer will be God’s Advent gift to us that day. By being alert and watchful we will receive an extra gift:  Christ himself.  Let us remember the saying of St. Thomas Aquinas: “Without God, I can’t.  Without me, He won’t.”

(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Being wakeful and watchful

We are so future-oriented that we often forget the present entirely. We spend too much time trying to protect ourselves against future misfortunes. We save for a rainy day, to get married, to buy a home, to send the children to college, to retire in comfort and to protect ourselves against future misfortunes. But we need to be more spiritually wakeful and prepare for our eternal life because we can die any day, and that is the end of the world for us. Let this Advent season be the time of such a preparation for us.

(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Maran atha

Maran atha (Rev. 22:20) is an Aramaic (Syriac) expression that means: “Come, Lord Jesus.”   It was used as a greeting in the early Church. When believers gathered or parted, they didn’t say hello or goodbye, but “Maran atha!” If we had the same spiritual outlook today, it would revolutionize the Church and the lives of its members during this advent season.

(Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

Fr. Tony’s Commentary

1B Advent

Introduction

The common theme of today’s readings is that vigilant service prepares us for the coming of Christ as our Savior during Christmas and as our judge and Lord at the end of the world. The reason why the liturgical year ends and begins with the same theme is clear: if we have already embraced Jesus in his first coming, we will have no fear of his second coming. Advent is the season of special preparation for and expectation of the coming of Christ. It encourages us to examine our lives, to reflect on our need for God to enter our lives, and to prepare earnestly for, and eagerly await the coming of Christ. He will come to us in the celebration of the Incarnation, in His continual coming in our daily living and in His final coming as our Lord to judge us all and to renew the Father’s creation. Using apocalyptic images, the Gospel urges the elect to be alert for the return of Christ because no one except the Father knows the day or the hour of the Lord’s return. Jesus summarizes the complexities of Christian living in two imperatives: “Take heed!” (Be on guard) and “Watch!” (Be alert, stay awake, and don’t grow careless). Our life on earth is to be one of productive service uninfluenced by a supervisor’s presence or seeming absence. The new liturgical year begins by challenging us to pay attention to endings and new beginnings because the central human experience is one of transitions and progress, from past through the present to the future. Hence the liturgy reminds us of what God has done in the past to encourage us to hope and work in the present for the final coming of the Lord to finish what he has begun. Hence Advent is not simply a waiting for someone who has not yet come. Instead, it is a period for enjoyment of the gift of Jesus who has come to save us; and who will come again to reward us. We begin a new liturgical year (Year B) and, with it, we shift from the Gospel of Matthew to the Gospel of Mark, the shortest and the first written gospel. This Sunday’s Gospel is part of what Scripture scholars sometimes refer to as the “little apocalypse” of Mark—a section that is somewhat broader than this pericope (Mk 13:24-37).

First Reading

Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7

Around 600 BC, the Babylonians took the Jews out of the Promised Land and kept them in exile (the Babylonian Captivity) for about 60 years. When Cyrus, the Persian emperor, took over Babylon, he sent the Jews home. This reading is set in that troubled period when Judah was trying to put itself back together after returning from Exile. To get the flavor of it, imagine how a contemporary family might feel when they return to a fire-damaged or hurricane-destroyed or flood-damaged home. The reading contains a mix of feelings: guilt and outrage at God alternating with praise of God, humility, anguish and hope. Isaiah expressed the hope of Israel for a powerful manifestation of God in their midst.  “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before You.” The prophet hoped that if God would come into their midst, the people could be faithful to Him. Acknowledging the fact that the people were unfaithful, Isaiah asked for God’s forgiveness and acceptance: “You, O Lord, are our Father; we are the clay and You are the potter: we are all the work of Your hands.” In other words, we’re not perfect, but we are totally God’s to shape. Here Isaiah was not anticipating Jesus’ arrival when he asked God “… to rend the heavens and come down …! He was simply pleading with Yahweh to force those Israelites who had recently returned from the Babylonian Exile to do what was necessary to allow God to be present and active in their lives. Isaiah was praying to Yahweh on behalf of the Israelites, “Would that You might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of You in our ways.” He begged Yahweh, the Father of the Chosen People, for mercy. This prayer was answered when the Son of God became man in the Incarnation.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

We wait for Christ in two ways. The early Sundays of Advent teach the end-of-the-world theme. In this context, we wait for Christ to “come again in glory, to judge the living and the dead”. The later Sundays of Advent celebrate a different theme: the coming of the Messiah in the flesh. Today’s second reading, taken from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians and written from Ephesus in 57 A.D., begins with a greeting and a thanksgiving prayer. The letter is Paul’s answer to reports which had reached him concerning disputes and difficulties in Corinth. It was written while he and his audience were still sure that Christ’s second coming was just around the corner. Like all early Christians, the Apostle used the phrase “the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ” as another way to speak about Jesus’ Parousia — his Second Coming at the end of the world. Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were not ready to face the Day of the Lord because they were misusing the gifts of the Holy Spirit. After describing the special gifts of the Holy Spirit they had received, Paul reminded the Corinthians that they were using their gifts in the wrong way. Christ’s favor, the speech and knowledge they possessed, the spiritual gifts in which they gloried — all were useless unless used for the good of the community. In fact, many of Paul’s converts had been using their gifts to destroy the community instead of building it up. What should have been an asset, had become a detriment. Paul could only pray for the eventual conversion of his community. “He (Jesus) will strengthen you to the end,” the Apostle writes, “so that you will be blameless on the day of Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and it was He who called you to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Gospel

MK 13:33-37

Context: Mark is the shortest of the four canonical Gospels and, in the view of most Scripture scholars, was the first of them to be put down in written form, probably sometime in the 60s A.D. The Gospel of Mark was probably written at a time when the Romans had swept through upper Galilee to suppress a Galilean revolution. This region was where Mark’s Judeo-Christian community lived. This community was besieged by three hostile forces, all of which demanded loyalty from the followers of Jesus as former Jews. Since Palestine was the breadbasket of the Empire, the Romans controlled it through military might and local alliances. The high priests and their minions collaborated with the Romans and imposed their own oppressive burden of regulations and Temple taxes. Armed Jewish nationalists had seized the Temple by force and wanted to expel the Romans from the region. At the time Mark wrote his Gospel, the Roman legions were poised to destroy the Temple and all of Jerusalem with it, once and for all, and thus end the Jewish nation as it had existed before. Hence, Mark reminded the Christian community of Jesus’ injunction to be alert and awake for Christ’s second coming, recalling Jesus’ parable about the gate-keeper. Scripture scholars sometimes refer to this part of Mark’s Gospel as the “little apocalypse” because these verses speak of the striking cosmic signs that will signal Christ’s coming (vv. 24-27), and Christ’s injunction to be watchful and attentive (vv. 28-31).

The background of the parable: Absentee land-owners and wayfaring masters were a common thing in Jesus’ time. The owners of large properties often lived elsewhere, leaving servants in charge of caring for and carrying on business as if the owners were still present. This kind of situation would be a test for the servants left in charge. Would they be faithful day by day, or would they wait until they heard the master was about to return and then quickly get things in order? The trouble was that often they didn’t know when the land-owner would return. The absence of the master was a test.

The need for Christian alertness: Jesus illustrates the need for alertness and readiness by comparing the situation of his followers to that of a gate-keeper in a house when the owner was out of the country.  Since the gate-keeper did not know when the owner of the house would return, “in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning,” he must always be ready if he did not want the owner to find him asleep.  In the same way, there is no reason for Christ’s followers to be fearful, provided we are ready every day for Jesus’ return.  If we are awake and ready, the coming of the Son of Man is an event to be greeted with joy. Thus, our whole life should be a preparation to meet the master. We base this constant watch not on fear but on hope in God’s promise of eternal life .

The work to be completed: Like the parents who trust their teenagers to look after the house while they are away, or like the teacher who leaves the classroom after giving her students plenty of work to do, Jesus trusts us to carry out his work until he returns. There is the work of witnessing to Jesus in our daily lives. There is the work to be done in our families, our schools, our local churches and our community. There is the work of caring for those who are hurting and have needs.  There is the work of guiding and leading others, pointing people to the comforting message of the Gospel. There is the work of living “lives holy and dedicated to God,” “doing our best to be pure and faultless in God’s sight and to be at peace with him”

Being a responsible servant: This passage reminds us also that we should not be so foolish as to forget God and become immersed in worldly matters. Using Christ’s parable, the Church reminds us of the alertness and preparation needed for the four-fold coming of Jesus into our lives, namely: at the celebration of His Incarnation during this Christmas season, in His active presence  in our daily lives, at the moment of our death, and in his final coming in glory at the end of the world.

First coming and second coming (St. Cyril of Jerusalem): At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look, then, beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord … His first coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach us by gentle persuasion. This time, whether people like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom, by necessity. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem; transl. http://www.universalis.com)

Permission granted for the use of the materials on this page for education and homiletical purposes at no charge. If used in writing, please make acknowledgment of the author, Fr. Anthony Kadavil.. For more information, contact Fr. Tony using thecontact form.