33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 13, 2016 – Year A
Readings: Mal 3:19-20a / Psalm 98 / 2 Thes 3:7-12 / Lk 21:5-19
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Today is the second to the last Sunday in our liturgical calendar. As we come close to the end of the liturgical year, our Holy Mother Church has given us scripture readings that will encourage us to prepare ourselves for the second coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, which will also mark the end of the world as we know it. How do we go about making this preparation?
Father Charles Miller once said that our preparation can be likened to what the astronauts did on the aborted flight of Apollo 13 which happened more than four decades ago. On its way to the moon, Apollo 13 was rocked by a tremendous explosion. That is why they had to abandon their original plan. Their goal was just to return to Earth alive. With the help and directions from Mission Control, they were able to make the spaceship as functional as possible. They didn’t just aim toward the earth and hope they would have a safe landing. They still had to do a lot of things to guard against further damage to the space ship. That is why, even after losing oxygen and power, Apollo 13 still managed to land back on Earth with all the astronauts alive. It is not surprising why it is called NASA’s most successful failure.
Our world is like Apollo 13 and our life is like a journey through space. The terrible explosion of the sin nearly destroyed our world for good. But with the help of God’s grace and the direction of our Holy Mother Church we are all working to make our world as functional as possible according to God’s plan. Although our goal is to finally enter God’s eternal kingdom in heaven, we also still have missions to do, one of which is to guard against any further damage lost by sin.
Yesterday, during our Mass in our sister parish at Smith Mountain Lake, we had a special blessing and prayers for the widows in our church family. That part of the liturgy has a special meaning for me because my mom has been a widow for 30 years now. These past years every time she is not too busy (which very seldom happens) she talked about her desire to be with my dad, to be with my sister who died at a very young age, and to be with her parents. In the meantime, she keeps herself busy praying and doing things for others. She used to tell me that there are a good number of saints who are widows like Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, popularly called Mother Seton, Saint Rita, and Saint Paula, the patroness of widows, just to name a few. They are her role models. They also mourned the loss of their husbands for the remainder of their lives. While they were waiting for that day when they would see each other again in heaven, they kept themselves busy making this world a better place for others.
Our goal, my dear Brothers and Sisters is to ultimately be happy with God for all eternity in his everlasting kingdom. In the meantime, we all have a mission to do. Following the footsteps of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is surely not easy but it is also not impossible with the help of God’s grace. That is why we have every reason to persevere. As our Lord said in today’s gospel, “by your perseverance you will secure your lives.”