Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C
August 07 2022 – 10:30 AM
Saint Cecilia Catholic Community
Deacon Sharon Kay Talley
Wisdom 18:6-9 | Psalm 33:1;12;18-22
Hebrews 11:1-2;8-12 | Luke 12:35-40
+In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN.
Have you ever fallen asleep while involved in an activity or event when you should have been focusing your attention on it?
When I was in my twenties and teaching school, some of my teacher friends and I went out to dinner one night, and afterward, we went to the home of one teacher who had just returned from a trip to Spain and wanted to share her slides with the group. For the younger folks listening today, slides were photos taken with a thirty-five-millimeter camera and projected on a large white screen. This was quite common in the nineteen seventies before the advent of cell phones and computers. By the time she finished her presentation, every one of the six guests, myself included, had fallen asleep!
Although most people under the age of thirty believe we sleep in order to charge our cell phones, sleep is actually an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, so you are refreshed and alert when you wake up.
And for those of you who are camping enthusiasts, did you know that people in sleeping bags are the soft tacos of the bear world? And for the workaholics, any job is a dream job if you fall asleep in meetings!
Our being watchful and awake is one of the messages given by Jesus in today’s Gospel. We must be alert to God at all times on our spiritual journeys. Prayer, silence, and meditation are part of this awareness. Jesus tells us, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.”
All of our readings today focus on enabling us to share in the heritage of God. Even today’s Psalm tells us, “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.” God has invited everyone to join the Kingdom of God through Jesus. And it is through the church that we are united with Him in baptism and Holy Communion. In these days of our fearing we will contract Covid, many people are losing their connection with Jesus through the Sacraments by staying away from the church.
Our first reading from the Book of Wisdom relates to our covenant with God. It is through this oath that we are able to share in the heritage of God. Our baptismal candidate today is named Sofia, which in biblical studies means wisdom. Wisdom is an expression of the feminine aspects of God. Sofia or Wisdom, is a central idea in religion and Christian theology. It was significantly shaped by the term philosophy as used by Plato.
Our second reading today from Hebrews reminds us of Abraham’s insurmountable faith in God. It reveals his heritage of God, and since God the Father revealed Himself to Jesus, it is through Him that we are united as God’s people.
Another message given to us today by Jesus is to be vigilant and alert always since His return will be sudden and unexpected. If you are unable to welcome Him, you will not share in the rewards of His return.
According to traditional orthodox Catholic teachings, when Jesus returns to earth again from heaven, He will conquer His enemies and reign as King of the world as described in the Gospel of Matthew. Many people confuse this with His coming for the Church, an event commonly referred to as the Rapture. Jesus will not actually enter the earth during the Rapture but remain in the air. At the Second Coming, Jesus will raise all the dead who are followers and call them up to meet Him and remain with Him forever. They will have their souls redeemed and their spirits and bodies united with Christ. Christians who are living at the time of this event will not die but will be changed to be like Jesus. All will be brought before Jesus, who will reward them based on the works they have accomplished. This reward is solely for their work on Christ’s behalf.
The judgment will take into account one’s faith, actions, beliefs, and whether they are baptized. Righteous Christians will go to heaven, and ones with unforgiven sins will go to purgatory, where their sins will be burned away, after which they will go to heaven. Everyone else will spend eternity in hell, according to traditional Catholic teaching.
The Antichrist will be cast into the Lake of Fire, and Satan will be bound for a thousand years. Christ will reign with firmness and equity. Israel will be restored to her land, and the Messianic kingdom will end with apostasy and rebellion. There will be a new heaven and earth founded on righteousness. However, there are other viewpoints, such as those based on the concept that everything concerning the Second Coming is a mystery because God is a mystery. The Second Coming of Jesus, or the Second Advent, remains the great hope of all followers of Jesus.
So, we need to live our lives in a state of constant readiness for the return of Jesus either in the parousia, which is the Greek word meaning actual presence or in the spirit. No one knows when the Son of Man is coming, but we do know for certain that at some time, He will return.
It is our call from Jesus to live our lives by preaching the Gospel to ourselves every day. How we spend our time here on earth is of great importance to God. God sees a day on earth as equivalent to a thousand years in heaven.
As disciples of Jesus, or God’s elect, we need to live our lives being loyal to our faith and heritage by serving God and others; by always doing what is right in the eyes of God, by loving all people, regardless of race, sexual identity, economic status, or physical or mental abilities and trusting in God.
Just as Abraham and our ancestors knew that God loved them, we also know that God loves us, and we need to follow Jesus through our faith in Him throughout our journey in life.