What You Do Today


What You Do Today

November 14, 2021 | N W | Commitment, Discipleship, Eternal Life, Father Nixon, Heaven, Mission, Obedience

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
November 14, 2021 — Year B
Readings: Dn 12:1-3 / Ps 16 / Heb 10:11-14, 18 / Mk 13:24-32
by Rev. Nixon Negparanon, Pastor

There is a beautiful Cherokee proverb that says: “When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that, when you die, the world cries, and you rejoice.”

Our gospel today talks about the end of time. For many years, people have speculated about the end of time, because people love to speculate, especially about when the world might come to an end. That is why writers and filmmakers make money by imagining how it might end.

Yet, this gospel ends with, “But of that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father.” Jesus indicates that He, the Son, doesn’t even know, so it makes it sacrilegious to try to figure out when the end is coming. The message of the gospel is not to speculate on any end time. Jesus tells us that the end of time or the end of our days will come unexpectedly, when no one knows.

Every day, brothers and sisters, we need to be ready.  Every single day, for we do not know when God will take us. That is why it is always good to be prepared, all the time.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Live each day as if it were your last. Learn as if you would live forever.” Beautiful.

This reminds me also of Mother Teresa’s message to a priest, when she said, “Priest, man of God, when you say Mass, think that is your first, only, and last Mass.” Very true.  There are many times when, on the weekend, I get so very tired in my last Mass.  But I remember those words from Mother Teresa. What if this were my last Mass? Would I be lousy in saying Mass, because I was tired? Or would I give the best of myself?

I think this applies to all of us.  If we always think, “What if this were my last time to talk to the person who hurt me, to my enemy? Would I still hate my enemy?  Would I still fight with him, or would I give my best, because after this encounter, I will be facing my judge, who is the Lord?”

So that’s why it’s very important to take all our responsibilities seriously: to be a loving person and to be at peace with yourself, with others, and with God.

Seneca the Younger said, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”  So time is important. We need to use our time in this world wisely and responsibly. Each day is a gift, and it is up to us to decide how we use it. To live a meaningful life is an important decision to make, and we need to do it now.

Life is a matter of choices.  Every choice we make, makes us or molds us. Example: If we choose to love, then we will be filled with love. If we choose to live a life of generosity, then we will be free from greed and selfishness. If we choose forgiveness, we will be free from anger, hatred, and vengefulness. Then life will become meaningful for us, and the thought of the end time will no longer bring us fear and worry. In fact, it can be a welcome thought, believing and trusting that God will be there to welcome us into His kingdom.

In this world, we realize how sudden death is. We see how unexpectedly death may occur, whether by car accident, gunshot, terrorist attack, or illness. What Jesus is telling us today is, it is not about what you plan to do tomorrow. It is about what you do today.

These words of Jesus hit every part of our culture. It hits us, each of us.  After all, don’t we have almost every kind of insurance that you can think of, every kind of protection against financial loss? Are we not saving for tomorrow’s retirement or tomorrow’s education?

This cultural teaching is the reason why it is so hard to follow Jesus.  It is almost hard to take Jesus seriously. We know that what Jesus teaches us is the Truth, and yet, we know also that we have followed these cultural teachings. This gospel is just another reminder that the Truth will someday catch up with all of us, and there will be a price to pay for half-hearted discipleship.

The late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago spoke of the tension between society and the Church, that is, the teachings of Jesus. He lamented that our culture trivializes religion, so that “church” becomes a spiritual club, not a way of discipleship. From a cultural perspective, the cardinal went on to say, society is saying, “God cannot make demands on us. Religion is a hobby. It is relegated to leisure time.”

You and I are in a spiritual battle: the war against the culture. For we are required by our Faith to attempt to change our culture. Did not Jesus work to change His culture? We are at war with Satan, and he will use our culture to lead us away from salvation. Same-sex marriage. Abortion. We call it “mother’s choice.” The baby doesn’t have any choice whether it wants to live or not. It is the mother’s choice. Death penalty. Remove all those people who are giving problems to our society.  Don’t give them a chance. If God were to do the same thing, if God would not give us a chance, then none of us would go to heaven.

In war, soldiers struggle to avoid death by doing three basic things.  One, the soldier learns everything he can about his job. Two, the soldier practices his training and skills over and over. Three, he knows beyond a doubt he’s not a soldier of one.  Soldiers depend on each other to accomplish their task.

You and I need to follow these same steps in our everyday war. First, we need to learn everything we can about our faith.  Second, we need to, filled with that knowledge and the graces provided through the sacraments, be faithful over and over to the Lord Jesus and all that He taught. Third, and this is perhaps the thing that we leave out most, we need to have the unity that will allow us to depend on each other, our fellow saints, past and present, in order to win this war.

As Saint Paul says in his letter to the Romans (14:17-19), the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of justice, peace, and the joy that is given by the Holy Spirit. Whoever serves Christ in this way, pleases God. Let us then make it our aim to work for peace and to strengthen one another. Yes, there is an irony in the fact that we are in a spiritual war that is focused on peace, and that is because we are soldiers for Christ.

This gospel was the final warning to the disciples, as Jesus approached His own death on the cross. The warning was to live their lives every day as they had been taught, serving Jesus by serving others, and not worrying about the end.

We, too, are disciples of Jesus, and surely, when the day of judgment comes, we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done; not how well we have spoken, but how devoutly we have lived.

So again, let us not forget: “When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your life well and meaningfully, so that when you die, the world cries, and you rejoice.”

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