Homily – November 17, 2019

We are beginning to wind down the church’s liturgical year and soon we’ll be into Advent. Today’s gospel tells us something we already know, nothing last forever. The energy of our youth wears thin. The sharpness of our eyes dims. Our hearing fails. We need a walker to get around. We have to retire, we have to give up our drivers licence, and we have to lose our independence and go to a senior’s residence. This is the reality of some of us right here, right now and it will be the reality of all of us sooner or later.

For the Jews the Temple was the mainstay of God’s presence to God’s people. It was their national treasure. Yet Jesus tells the people who boasted of its beauty the terrible, the unthinkable news that the day would come when it would be brought low, not one stone upon another. It’s like asking us to imagine St. Peter’s in Rome being reduced to rubble and who is to say that will never happen? Jesus speaks of future wars and the breakdown of society but he tells us, “Do not be perturbed. These things are bound to happen.” Bound to happen! Life is bound to be this way. Jesus is not speaking about the end of all times, but the condition of every time and the condition of every life. Things change and things pass away.

There is one constant in our ever- changing lives of which we can depend; what stands for ever is God’s love for each of us, a love proven in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus our Christ. Do we open our lives to that love is the important question.

Our life project is to return that love in and through our relationships with all the men women and children who come into our lives, be they friends or strangers. And that’s not easy. It’s difficult to break out of our own worries and concerns and be open to the worries and wounds of other people. Our constant challenge is how we respond to the poor, the naked, the homeless, the strangers, the weak and broken men women and children who come into our lives. Are we there for them as Christ is here for us?

Everything that Christ predicted has taken place and is taking place and will continue to take place. God speaks to us in the events of our lives, not that God causes the event but God is with us in the ways we cope the joys and hurts of our lives.

The Gospel tells us that we can accept today’s crises — from the personal to the cosmic as God-given occasions of grace and opportunities to give witness. Christ promises to be with us, if we will only rely on him.

When we face our own diminishments the question to ask ourselves is not why, but how, how am I going to handle this; will I let this event sour my life or will I accept it as a challenge to grow in my trust and faith in the God who loves me, in the Christ who died out of love and care for me.