Saturday, November 17, 2007

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

Listen

As they stood facing the temple they marveled at its beauty.
So much effort had been put into its construction
So many sacrifices had been made to make this monument to their faith
And there it was
The temple
Columns 40 feet high of solid white marble
There was an beautiful sculpture of relief of a vine made of solid gold
which adorned the fa├žade of this massive structure
It glowed in the morning as the sun rose
The temple was
The center of their faith
The center of their common life
The temple was
A place which demonstrated to the whole world how important the Covenant was to them.

They looked on it in awe
They looked on it with Satisfaction
It was time to take pride in all that they had accomplished
It was time to rest
to be proud

Jesus did not share in this moment of self satisfaction
For he was able to read the signs of the time
He knew what was coming
40 years later Jerusalem would be destroyed
All that seemed sacred to them would be desecrated
1,100,000 would die in a terrible siege
Only 97,000 would survive


He knew their faith would be shaken
He knew that all would seem lost
He had to give them something to hold onto
And so he gave them a glimpse into the future
A glimpse that they could hold onto
The teacher said it would be so
He also gave them a promise
that when everything seemed lost
That God would be with them.

He had to help them understand that his presence
was not only in this Beautiful momument
They were also temples of his presence
It was in their hearts.

To do this he was completely honest with them
Come follow me and you will suffer
Come follow me and you will be handed over
Come follow me and you will put in prison
Come follow me and you will face false prophets
You will be misunderstood
And Made fun of
And even worse things will happen
All of this is what awaits a disciple of Jesus
Jesus never promised us a life without challenges and suffering

And even as he foretold their suffering
He promised them that they would never suffer alone
He would be with them
Look through history
How many people have suffered terribly because of their faith
But died with calm of a saint
“Do not prepare your testimony I will speak with you was his promise”
Persevere without fear

If we suffer for love
If we suffer for our faith
If we suffer for God
It is impossible to suffer alone
God will be with us
God will sustain us
God will be our strength our hope our consolation

Finally Jesus makes and incredible promise
Yes they may make you suffer
Yes they may hand you over
Yes those you love may persecute you
They may even take your earthly life

But they will never take your soul
They can take your soul
Your soul is safe with me.
I am the Resurrection and the life

The disciples with Jesus had grown satisfied
They had become comfortable
They were ready to rest on their accomplishments
symbolized by the magnificent temple they had built

I think Gospel is calling us to ask ourselves
Have we grown so comfortable that our faith no longer challenges us?
Who or what do we place our trust in?
What gives us comfort?
What gives us hope?
Do we really believe that God is with us in adversity?
Do we throw in the towel when the suffering or challenges come our way?

Jesus knew the lot of those who admired the temple
He knows what we will face in our lives
and he has been completely honest with us about them

He begs us to persevere and never give up hope
He assured us that we will never suffer alone
And even when we face what appears to be the ultimate defeat in death
He promises us eternal life
“by your perseverance you shall save your life”

Lots to think about
Lots to hope for
May we have the strength and the courage to follow Christ
No matter what the cost
Amen

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