By your perseverance you will secure your lives...

 Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time:
The sun of justice will arise with its healing rays...
 (Scriptures for today's liturgy)

Audio for homily

The Temple in Jerusalem,
the one Jesus said would crumble, stone by stone,
the one “adorned with costly gems,”
was indeed destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
and the prediction of the persecution of believers also came to pass
around the same time.

But Luke’s gospel was written around 80-85 A.D.
so the text here refers to events that have already taken place.

This gospel, then, is less a crystal ball for looking into the future
and much more a magnifying lens
to help Luke's audience see more clearly and grapple more confidently
with the present.

It might be well, then, in our present moment,
to consider the disasters at hand for us.
Even 2,000 years after Jesus spoke of
“wars, insurrections, earthquakes, famines and plagues”
-- they are still with us;
and people of faith are still “seized and persecuted.”

The collapse of personal security upon losing a job
may be as real for us as was the fall of the Temple in the 1st century.

And for many, betrayal by those closest to us (spouses, family, friends)
might be the most painful disaster we experience.

As it was when Luke wrote his gospel,
we need not look to the future for such things to happen:
today has trouble enough of its own.

Let me suggest we close our eyes for a moment and call to mind
what might be our own calamities, problems and fears --
in the world, and in our own lives and hearts…

To just these situations in our lives Jesus has four things to say,
four gems embedded in this gospel
as were those precious stones in the walls of the temple.
He says: 
Don’t be deceived… 
Don’t be afraid… 
I’ll give you a wisdom….
By your perseverance you will secure your lives…

In whatever confusion or conflict, whatever depression or disaster
we find ourselves, Jesus says,
Don’t be deceived!
Many will come promising what only I can give
and you’ll be tempted to think I’ve abandoned you, forgotten you.
You’ll wonder what you did to deserve such suffering.
But don’t be deceived. I am never the source of your suffering.
I come to you only with healing and strength and mercy;
I come to be with you, to take your hand,
and to lead you through the darkest of your days.

And to us in our fears, Jesus says,
Don’t be terrified! Don’t be afraid!
There’s nothing you can’t face if you stand with me,
and I’ll stand by you in everything that comes your way.
I’ll be your courage when you are frightened.
I’ll be your strength when yours is exhausted.
I’ll be your guide when you’re lost, your guard when you’re alone.
And in our confusion Jesus tells us,
I’ll give you wisdom… I’ll help you understand.
When you are conflicted, I’ll give you my counsel.
When you don’t know what to do, I’ll lead you to the truth.
When nothing makes sense, when everything’s too complex,
come to me and in the simplicity of my heart’s mercy and peace,
find a place to rest…

And in our hopelessness, Jesus says,
By your perseverance, you will secure your lives…
You’re never alone, I’m always at your side.
When you’ve run out of hope for tomorrow, trust in me for today.
When the future seems impossible, trust that it’s in my hands.
Hold fast my hand in yours and, together, we’ll walk on,
one day at a time, one hour at a time.
Stay with me and I will stay with you:
by your perseverance, you will secure your life…

The scriptures today are clear.
In every age there are signs all around us that the end will come
and a day of judgment will face us all.
But for those who trust in the Lord,
who live by his Word and seek his mercy,
the sun of justice will arise with healing in its rays.

And that healing is ours not only at the end but even now
for those who listen for the Lord and hear him say,
Don’t be deceived…
Don’t be afraid…
I’ll give you wisdom….
By your perseverance you will secure your lives…

Whatever burdens we came to Mass with today,
now is the time to lay them down at the foot of the Cross
and at the table of the Lord,
where he gives us, in the sacrifice, in the sacrament of the Eucharist,
the companionship, the courage, the wisdom and the hope
to live, one day at a time,
in his mercy and in his peace.

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  1. Thanks for putting what "Jesus says" so simply...and if i get real quiet i know the truth of it.

    Why it is so hard to trust His gift to be with me when i've experienced its truth is beyond me, but i am beginning to discover all it takes on my part is a loving surrender, even with my doubt and i receive all he has promised.

    "Don’t be deceived…
    Don’t be afraid…
    I’ll give you wisdom…
    By your perseverance you will secure your lives…"

    Thank you, i will read this over and over again!

  2. Thank you Fr. Fleming. You have
    once again put this Reading into a
    format and manner that reaches out to all of us and that gives us hope and peace. You should join our
    Arise Group!!

  3. Thank you for this wonderful homily. As I sat listening to it with my family I felt so moved. It has been a difficult year for my family medically and the future is unknown. I needed this homily a few months ago as I felt so overwhelmed, alone, confused, despaired . . . Our family is in a good place now, but with my husbands medical issue (MS) you just don't know the future.

    I will keep this homily for when things are not good, to reread and hope that the comfort and inspiration that it brought me this weekend I will feel again, when I desperately need feel the comfort again.

    Thank you.



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