Thursday, November 29, 2018

Homily – 33rd Sunday – Year B November 18, 2018

By Deacon Jerry Franzen at  the Cathedral
Daniel 12: 1-3             Hebrews 10: 11-14, 18        Mark 13:24-32

Praised Be Jesus Christ.  Good Morning.

Let’s review three quotes from today’s readings:
From the Book of the Prophet Daniel in the Old Testament:
“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.
Some shall live forever,
others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace.”
At the second coming of Jesus in all his power and glory
there will be the final judgment in which some souls will join
their glorified risen bodies in eternity with God
and other souls will join their hideous bodies
in the horror and disgrace of not being with God.

From the Gospel of St. Mark:
“Then he will send out the angels
to gather his elect from the four winds
from the end of the earth to the end of the  sky.”
God’s messengers will be sent
to gather those elected to spend eternity with God.
From the Letter to the Hebrews:
“Where there is forgiveness of these
there is no longer offering for sin.”
Christ has won the forgiveness for everybody’s sins.

Three readings – three selections;
         1. We have a choice to live body and soul with God forever
              or face the horror of not doing so – the state of Hell.
         2. Those gathered by the angels will be those elected.
         3. And what are the qualifications to be among the elect?
             It seems somehow to be all about forgiveness.


Today is a kind of preparation day, a prelude, for next Sunday,
the solemnity of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Then we will celebrate the future day of Christ coming,
 not as Savior but as the King of the Universe
 when His enemies will be “made His footstool.”

Today we set the stage for this celebration,
 the celebration of those chosen to be united with God,
 body and soul for all eternity.
We do not celebrate those not so elected,
but we are reminded that this possibility exists.
This is what we sometimes call the final judgment,
 the event at which the each of us will be judged
 as to which group we belong to.
*Pope Benedict XVI calls the final judgment a "place of hope,"
          and a "setting for learning and practicing hope."

The final judgment is a “place of hope.”
This judgment has simply two possible outcomes.
Every judgment requires 2 or more possible outcomes:
Innocent or guilty, fair or foul, a catch or not, a goal or not.
The prophet Daniel in the first reading
makes the possible outcomes of our lives very clear:
live forever with Christ the King
or be separated from Him for all eternity. 
Hope is a desire for a particular outcome.
The hitter hopes that the ball drops fair,
The fielder hopes that the ball drops in foul territory.
The final judgment spawns hope in us; we hope for heaven.


Judgments usually involve rules by which decisions are made,
Which side of the third base line, in the net or not,
behind the three-point line or on it.
When the criteria are very clear and explicit,
judgments can be easily made.
What are the criteria for the final judgment?
Are they clear and explicit?

Everyone of us has been given all that we need
to be among the elect to spend eternity with Christ.
God gave His Son for our salvation,
for each of us to be among the elect.
We have just gone through
what has been termed the “mid-term,” elections.
Ideally everyone who wanted to
was given the opportunity to run for elective office.
The judgment about who was elected to an office
was based on who got the most votes.
And ideally each voter chose a candidate,
because the voter considered that candidate
to have the best qualifications for the office.
God will make the decision on the day of judgment.
Our election to the eternal presence of God,
will be based on our qualifications and there is but one voter.


The qualifications for our hope for salvation are simple.
Have we lived our lives to show our love for God and our neighbor?
Has that been a Godly love,
a relationship which involves true sacrifice in our lives for God
and our neighbor?
AND, in cases when we have not shown that love,
but have seriously offended God and our neighbor,
have we expressed our true sorrow for our transgressions
to God in the sacrament of Reconciliation?
Remember, every time we offend our neighbor, we offend God.

The criteria are that simple; it’s not a difficult decision for God.
The criteria are simple, not a mystery for us.
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus,
whether we attain our hope for salvation,
depends solely on us.  God has done His part.
 “Where there is forgiveness of these
there is no longer offering for sin.”
It is not in physical sacrifices that we atone for our sins;
it is through the graces of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

Recall the rest of the quote from Pope Benedict XVI,
“Judgment is a ‘setting for learning and practicing hope.’"
With our keeping the final judgment in firm view,
and what we must do to be among the elect
we can learn about and practice hope.
**To better understand how we learn and practice,
we can go to the very last word in the chapter
from which our Gospel reading was taken,
Chapter 13 of Mark's Gospel.
That last word is a one-word sentence: “Watch.”

We must watch for and learn from
the continuing coming of Christ into our lives.
He is there every time we gather,
each time His word is proclaimed,
each time His Body rests in your hands or on your tongue,
each time His Precious Blood quenches our thirst.
Christ comes to us in each man, woman and child
whose eyes meet ours, all who seek our love.
We must keep our eyes of the goal and be always prepared
so that when our earthly life ends,
we will then be qualified to be among the elect
at the final judgment.
BUT, keeping our attention on the power and the glory
of the final coming must not blind us
to Christ’s daily comings
                             in the rags and tatters of the poor
                             in the lonely,
                             the frightened,
                             the joyless
                             in the sick
                             and in those lost in this strange world
                                    that does not seem to care about them.
There are everyday occasions for each of us
to support the hopes of others by our love,
and in this way to learn more about
and gain more practice in our hope for salvation.

*  Pope Benedict XVI, Spe salvi, #41 as quoted in:

**  Patterned after parts of “With Great Power and Glory” in “Still Proclaiming Your Wonders” by Walter J Burghardt, S.J., Paulist Press 1984 New York pp 149-154.