MOMENTS for 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (2016)
The story is told about two good friends who were such basketball fanatics that they made a promise to each other that whoever would pass away first would find a way to communicate if there is basketball in Heaven. As fate would have it, the older one died ahead, and in keeping with their promise, he appeared to his friend and said: “Friend, good news! There is basketball in Heaven! And you are playing center tomorrow!”
In today’s Gospel (Luke 21:15-19), Jesus talks about the “end times.” He reminds us that everything and everyone in this world will pass away. He also reminds us not to be proud of ourselves and our achievements. “The days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Jesus also reminds us today that persecution is a part of our journey to Heaven. If we are not persecuted, it simply means that we are just playing it safe and are not really being true to our principles or upholding what is right. It is okay to be persecuted. It is part of our faith. But woe to the persecutors. In time, they, too, will meet their fate.
Tim Orbos is our youngest brother, and his work as general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is not easy. I pray a lot for him, and I ask other people to pray for him. In his difficult and thankless job, he is doing his best. And I know that he is a dedicated public servant. It pains me when he is persecuted and maligned for all his efforts, by people who magnify the negative and hardly see the positive in him. Be strong, Tim! One with you.
Remember, insofar as we have inflicted pain of any sort on other people, we are persecutors. And remember, the evil one is the great accuser and persecutor. Insofar as we play his game, we become his instruments, and we help perpetuate his reign of sin and darkness.
It is so reassuring to know that truth and gladness will reign in the end. Let us hold on to this, our Lord’s promise. Let us not give up. Let us not lose our focus. God knows. God sees. God does not sleep.
“By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.” The bottom line is that we make it to Heaven at the end of our lives. Remember, our journey is not so much about speed or power or style as about consistency, diligence and, yes, perseverance. Take the road less travelled. Take the road of prayer, humility, kindness and joy.
Next Sunday, Nov. 20, is the Solemnity of Christ, the King of the universe. It is the fiesta of Christ the King Seminary on E. Rodriguez Sr. Avenue, Quezon City. It is also the Kristo Rey celebration in our hometown of Bani, Pangasinan, in the diocese of Alaminos. Wherever we will be on this day, remember to let Christ be the King, first and foremost in our hearts. Let Christ be our personal King. Amen!
Let me end with this story about a boy who said in class that his father’s name is Laughing, and his mother’s name is Smiling. Upon hearing this, his teacher told him that he must be kidding. Whereupon the boy said: “No. Kidding is the name of my brother. I am Joking.” Remember, we who seek refuge in God can afford to smile in spite of trials, dangers, pain and persecution because we have God for our security and protection.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us to persevere in our mission till the end. Amen.