We Shall Triumph Through Perseverance & Hard Work
Readings: (1st: Mal 3, 19-20; Ps: 97, 5-7; 2nd: 2Thes 3, 7-12; Gos: Luke 21, 5-19)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today is the thirty third Sunday of ordinary time. A week from now we shall come to the end of this the liturgical calendar year C. So, the readings of this Sunday point to “the end of time” and our victory in Christ our king. It is deliberate and wise! This is in order to set us in the finish line mode of the church’s liturgical year.
Apart from announcing the end of time, the readings continue to encourage us to persevere till the end, when Christ shall finally rule as the universal king of glory. Liturgically speaking, we shall get there next Sunday. According to Gautama Siddhartha, (563-483 B.C): Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but final victory comes to the one who endures.” Therefore, let us endure until we triumph over all the forces of this world.
In today’s first reading, Malachi speaks of the day of the Lord. He paints two pictures. First, the fate of the evil one. Second, the triumph of the righteous who endures till the end. This reading simply serves as an encouragement to us in order to continue patiently in good works as John reminds us that: “All these call for patience, endurance and faithfulness” (Rev 13, 10). Malachi ends with a promise of victory: “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.” This is our hope and the reward.
In the second reading, Paul encouraged us to keep working hard. This is in order to earn both our earthly and heavenly living. The Church does not in any way encourage laziness or idleness. Hence she teaches us that sloth, that is, the reluctance to work, is one of the seven capital sins. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Sloth is sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good…it is evil in its effect, it oppresses man as to draw him away entirely from good deeds (Summa theologiae 2, 35, art. 1). Hard work yields good and enduring fruits. Hard work makes a good Christian. It abhors laziness and idleness.
Unfortunately, today many Christians no longer appreciate hard work. Instead, we perpetually depend on others directly or indirectly. In order to make fast and cheap money some have engaged in all sorts of evils like drugs, armed robbery, fraud and even “corporate begging.” This is what Paul means when he says: “Now we hear that some of you are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with anyone else’s.” A lazy Christian yield easily to all sorts of vices.
In the gospel, Christ prophesied the end of a time in the history of Israel. This culminated with the destruction of the temple around 70 AD. He also spoke of the imminent hardships and persecution before, during and after this time. However, He concludes with these encouraging words: “Your endurance will win you your lives.”
Hence, the Lord encourages us persevere in righteousness, and endure difficult moments. By warning that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed in spite of its elegance and greatness, Christ also reminds us that nothing of this world will last forever no matter how precious they are to us. The only thing that will endure is our faith in Christ.
Finally, today in our families, offices, businesses, careers and in our world, at large, we face difficulties that at times question our faith. However, if we endure all these patiently as Christ tell us, we shall have enough reasons to smile at the end, and of course, “the sun of righteousness will shine on us with healing in its rays.”
Peace be with you all!