Recently I celebrated Mass for our Men’s Rugby team.
During the homily I asked the gentlemen present what their the biggest challenge to holiness is.
In other words what is the biggest sin or temptation for a young adult man who plays rugby.
Without a moment of hesitation one young man blurted out “Sex”
There seemed to be a general agreement that “Sex or Lust” was their biggest challenge or struggle.
While I believe living a holy, loving, chaste life is a challenge for everyone.
I did not agree the young man’s conclusion.
I have come to believe that the greatest challenge to holiness for young adult men, or young adult women or anyone
is the temptation put off holiness until tomorrow.
It is so easy, so tempting if you will,
and I have time, lots of time to get holy.
I have met very few people who don’t want to be good people.
Everyone wants to be a good person,
a good husband, or wife
a good parent,
a good employee.
Once someone understands God’s word.
I’ve met very few people who don’t want to be obedient to it ….. some day.
Most of us know what it right and what is wrong
but we just baulk at putting it into practice.
Our temptation is simply to put it off.
That is precisely what Jesus is speaking about today.
In the beginning of the Gospel passage Jesus recounts two tragedies.
The first thing he does is to remove the thought that these tragedies are the fault of the people who were hurt.
During Jesus’ time well being some times was equated with God’s favor
and tragedy or sickness was equated with a personal sin or fault.
People simply thought that if.. your are blind or
if you are crippled or
if you are sick
it was because of your sin or the sin of someone close to you.
There are several examples in the Gospel where Jesus fought that misconception.
Personal tragedy cannot always be equated with personal sin or fault.
Jesus simply uses these to tragedies to try to convince us of the need to be ready.
You never know when a tower is going to fall on you.
You never know when you are going to be in the wrong place at the wrong time like the Galileans, and suffer the consequences.
In the second part of the Gospel with the story of the fig tree,
Jesus teaches that God is patient
Yes God is indeed patient.
God is very patient.
The fig tree which didn’t produce any fruit was not cut down.
It was given another chance.
It was cared for and watered and fertilized
and given more attention
but it still had to bear fruit.
So you see Jesus is in reality warning us about the sin of presumption
the presumption to take God’s mercy for granted.
The temptations to put off trying to live holy lives until…
When we are old…
When we are married…
When we have the privilege and responsibility of parenting…
are very common.
The warning of Jesus in today’s Gospel should give us all pause
But I tell you, if you do not repent,
you will all perish as they did!”
Let us resolve to live holy lives.
Holiness… If not now, when
Holiness… If not here, where
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