Deacon John P Gaulin

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C

Text of Homilies > 2010 Homilies

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle C
Nov 14, 2010

We are quickly approaching the end of the Church year. Next week, we celebrate Christ the King Sunday and then we enter the Advent Season and the Liturgical Year begins anew.

The end of the Church Year can provide us with an opportunity to reflect on our spiritual lives much in the same way as the end of the calendar year provides us with an opportunity to reflect on other aspects of our lives.

The Liturgical Year is a reflection of Salvation History. It provides us with many opportunities to take universal truths and personalize them by learning to apply them in our lives. We begin with Advent, a time to consider the coming of Christ into our lives. As Catholics, we believe that Jesus Christ is God and Man; St Paul tells us He is like us in all things, except sin.

As we enter Advent, we work to prepare our hearts and our minds to receive Him yet again as we have so often before, but this time with greater fervor and depth. We contemplate the significance of God taking on human flesh, and living among us. We assess what exactly we must do to receive the Savior into our hearts, to acknowledge His love with humility and to accept God’s will for our lives – that which we enjoy and that which is difficult.

The next season is Christmas. Certainly, there are many civic and social customs that have evolved over the years to celebrate the arrival of God into human history. Our challenge, this year as always, is to focus on the miracle that is Christmas and to be reborn ourselves in a faith that acknowledges the greatness of God and His Creation, and how God’s presence is intertwined with our own existence.

The first part of Ordinary Time follows Christmas, and it is an opportunity for us to delve into how God is present to us in the everyday living of our lives; in those routine of activities that make up the majority of where we spend our time: from changing diapers to receiving Communion; from doing laundry to attending Adoration. From the most menial of tasks to the most sublime acts of holiness, God is there.

The next season in the cycle is Lent, a time of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It is a time to focus on our spiritual shortcomings and recognize how those sins make us less than who we were created to be. It is a time to jettison those habits and addictions that prevent us from truly experiencing the one, true God in the way He created us to experience Him. It is a time of discipline, of healing, of reconciliation.

Following Lent, of course, is Easter. The event that surpasses any that came before or will come after. We celebrate the defeat of sin and death through the Resurrection of the Christ. Despite all that they had done and learned in
Christ’s presence, the Apostles did not fully believe until they grasped the full meaning of the empty tomb. It was in the Resurrection that the truths of the prophets and the teaching of Jesus became apparent. As incredible as it was, at last, things actually made sense.

The Resurrection was enough to launch the Church through the efforts and sacrifices of the Apostles, including St Paul. Martyrdom was not too high a price to pay for gift of eternal life that was earned by the Holy Sacrifice of the Cross. It is during Easter that we wrap our spirits around the profound reality of the love God has for each one of us, and the responsibility that His love demands of us.

Following the Easter Season, we have the second part of Ordinary Time. Throughout this season, we are continually reminded of God’s love, forgiveness and mercy. We see in the many Gospel stories how Christ taught His followers to live, to act, to pray, to love. We are reminded of the two great commandments – Love God and Love Each other: A command that is at the same time simple and difficult.

During the last few weeks of Ordinary Time, the Church reminds us of the ‘Last Things’, namely Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell. We should not fear death. In fact, for those who have learned to live the Liturgical Year well, death is merely a change of venue. Judgment is a confirmation of our faith in God’s love and mercy. Heaven is the reward that is promised to those whose response to God’s call and trust in His love opens them up to the vast storehouse of His mercy. And Hell is the place avoided by one’s absolute commitment to our Baptismal promises.

It is easy to get caught up in the rhythm of life, and allow it to pass us by like a flowing river. It takes courage to step into the water and be part of the greatness of an existence that is God’s gift to us. When we consider that each of us has the opportunity to experience the love and power of God each day of our lives, we expand beyond the limitations that has held us captive and reach for the loving hand of the Redeemer, on who’s cross our eternity hangs.

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