We shall Triumph through Perseverance & Hard Work
Readings: 1st: Mal 3:19-20; Ps: 97, 5-7; 2nd: 2 Thes 3:7-12; Gos: Luke 21:5-19
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at:
Today is the thirty-third Sunday of ordinary time. A week from now, we shall come to the end of year C. Hence, today’s readings point toward “The end of time” and our victory in Christ. According to Gautama Siddhartha (563-483 B.C), “Endurance is one of the most challenging 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, he speaks of the fate of the evil one. Second, the triumph of the righteous who endures till the end. This reading serves as an encouragement to help us continue patiently in good works. 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 our earthly and heavenly living. The Church does not in any way promote laziness or idleness. Hence, she teaches us that sloth, the reluctance to work, is one of the seven capital sins. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote, “Sloth is the sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin well. It is evil in its effect. It oppresses man 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.
Sadly, 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 engage in all sorts of evils like drugs, armed robbery, fraud, and even “corporate begging.” This is what Paul means by: “Now we hear that some of you are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with anyone else’s.” A lazy Christian yields 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 to persevere in righteousness and endure difficult moments. By warning that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed despite its elegance and greatness, Christ also reminds us that nothing in 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 tells 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!