This World is Dissolving

(November 17, 2019)

Bottom line: This world is dissolving but a new world awaits us. "By your perseverance," Jesus says, "you will secure your lives."

Since June (you might remember) we've been on a road trip to Jerusalem. Well, we have arrived. The disciple stand in awe before the temple. Jesus, however, shocks them:

"All that you see here -- the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down"

In four decades - 70 A.D. to be exact - the Romans will suppress the Jewish Revolt and in the process destroy the Temple.

For the Jewish people the Temple was more than a place of worship. It also provided a focus for their nation and it represented the universe itself. The Holy of Holies signifies heaven. The veil in front of that inner sanctuary had four colors that correspond to the four elements - earth, air, water and fire. The seven branches of the lampstand evoke the seven ancient "planets" and the twelve loaves the months of the year. To destroy the temple was like bringing down the cosmos itself.

Like the people who listened to Jesus, we live in precarious times. When I was child in the fifties, we knew that the U.S. or Russia could unleash nuclear weapons at any moment. That fear has receded. Today we more worry about ecological disasters as Jesus describes:

"There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky."

Whatever catastrophe awaits us, Jesus says that before those things happen, persecutions will come.:

"Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name."

They don't get much news coverage, but Christians do face persecution in many nations. In our own country we see a growing hatred for followers of Christ.

How do we respond to all this? St. Paul gives sensible advice: "Work quietly". Paul didn't just talk the talk, he walked the walk. As he reminds the Thessalonians, "in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked..."

Quiet work can involve taking steps to improve the environment - as Pope Francis has encouraged. It also includes prayers for those who govern our world. Above all, do not fall into discouragement. That seems to be the biggest temptation today, just to give up. That would be a fatal mistake. Jesus tells us we have the help of the Holy Spirit in our trials. This world is dissolving but a new world is emerging through God's power. With all this happening, Jesus tells to no be afraid, but rather keep on keeping on:

"You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives." Amen.


Homily Stewards of Mercy Week 3: Work Quietly - with Example of Fr. Jacques Hamel (Audio homily for 33rd Sunday, Year C 2016)

The Coming of the Lord - the Typhoon in the Philippines & our response. (Audio homily for 33 Sunday, Year C 2013)

Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Thirtieth Sunday, Year C):

2016: Stewards of Mercy Week 3: Work Quietly
2013: About Marriage and Broken Marriage
2010: The Virtue of Hope
2007: Night and Day We Worked
2004: Facing the End of Life
2001: The Coming Catastrophe
1998: The Choice is Yours

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

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Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

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