Scripture Readings, Nov. 13, 2022

SUNDAY, NOV. 13, 2022

Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Malachi 3:19-20a

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Luke 21:5-19

“By your perseverance, you will secure your lives.”

We Catholics are pro-life. In my humble opinion, unfortunately, some have a very narrow understanding of being pro-life. For me, it is sad to see how divided people are on being pro-life. Of course, I do not have the right words to help people understand the sacredness of each human life from conception until natural death. Personally, it is a no brainer to be pro-life because I love life. I am very thankful to be alive.

Some of the people whom I have the privilege to lead in spontaneous prayer often make fun of me because I always start the prayer in the same way: “Father, we thank you for the gift of life.” Are you thankful for being alive? Are you thankful for the gift of life that God has given you?  In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus is sharing with us some challenging words, but he is telling us how we can “secure our lives.” We know that our earthly life is not forever — “they will put some of you to death” — but Jesus is reminding us of eternal life. Sometimes, I joke with some of the staff in my parishes that I want to die when I turn 65 years old (I am 38); not because I think that 65 is really old. No; I want to serve the Lord as a priest for as many healthy years I can serve. However, I want to enjoy heaven too. I love this life, but I want to be in heaven, too. Both go hand in hand.

Do you think about heaven? I think people are not excited about going to heaven. The Gospel does not make sense to a lot of people because eternal life is not their main goal. I think a lot of people think that entering into heaven is very easy, but I don’t think it is that easy. I mean, if we pay attention to what Jesus said, we hear him say, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?”

I love to read the life of the saints, because it motivates me to be faithful to God. If we have a chance to talk to the saints one-on-one, they will say that it is worth it to persevere and be faithful to God and his Church.

Jesus says, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” What does it mean to persevere? First, it involves making our faith a priority, and forming good habits that will see us through difficult times, particularly the habits of coming to Mass even when we don’t feel like it; going to confession on a regular basis; worthily receiving holy Communion every weekend, praying each and every day; asking for God’s assistance whenever we have important decisions to make or challenges to face. Secondly, it means always trying to do the morally right thing by being faithful to God’s commandments and the Church’s teachings, even when this means going against the crowd. “You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives and friends.” Third, having the perseverance Jesus speaks of means learning to trust in him in all things and at all times, instead of giving into to worry or discouragement. Other ways to persevere are by regularly praying the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, coming to Eucharistic Adoration whenever possible, and developing and strengthening our devotion to your favorite saints, especially our Mother, the Virgin Mary.

Do you want to secure your life? Your life is precious. Our Lord paid a great price on the cross for your life, but it is up to you if you want to secure it or to lose it. As I said before, I love my life. But is my life wonderful all the time? No. That is exactly where I can see that this Sunday Gospel is good news, because Jesus is letting us know that in this earthly life there will be unpleasant, difficult situations and experiences that we must face, but they won’t last. If we remain with Jesus, then we should not fear.

We must never forget or doubt that our Lord loves us and will never abandon us, especially when life becomes difficult, confusing or frightening. “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”