Welcome to read homilies for the Sundays of the year. These are sample homilies which you can read with devotion. You may use them in your own homilies without asking my permission. You may also change or edit these to fit them to your audience. A unique quality of these homilies is that they are Christ-filled. From beginning to end they present to us some aspect of Jesus so that beholding his glory we “are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NAB).
Most Loved, Most Hated
Two more Sundays and the liturgical year ends. Today is the second to the last Sunday in our liturgical year. Next Sunday will be the last Sunday in our Church calendar. The Gospel on that Sunday is about the end of Jesus’ earthly, physical life. Today’s Gospel is about the end of the earthly and physical existence of this world.
Jesus describes the end of our earth with these words, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”
The first reading tells us what will happen on that day to those who persist in their sinful way of living. “Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts”.
The second reading warns us not to wait idly for this end of all days on earth, as some Thessalonian Christians were doing. They reasoned that since the end of the world was very near there was no need to work for they might not see the result of their work whether it was the fruit of their harvest or the projects they were concerned about. Paul told the Thessalonian Christians, “In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.”
One thing is certain from all these readings, this world as we know it will someday end like an oven burning everything in it. Then we will experience what our response says in our Responsorial Psalm, “The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice.”
But before this world ends Jesus tells us that we are going to suffer. He says in our Gospel reading, “Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.” This last sentence is rendered clearer by the Christian Community Bible of the Claretian Fathers. In this version the last sentence we quoted is written, “This will be your opportunity to bear witness” (Luke 21:13). During this persecution we will be given opportunity to witness for Jesus, to give our testimony about him.
This suffering may come from those close to us by blood or family ties. Jesus said, “You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.”
Although Jesus says in our Gospel reading that we are not to worry about what we are going to say in that testimony, for he says, “Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute”, still we need to know what we are going to testify about during that time.
Essentially we are going to testify about Jesus, who he is for us. And while it is true that during our actual appearance before those who will persecute us and immediately before this appearance we need not worry what to say to our persecutors, we need to know now that the one we are going to testify about is Jesus. Our persecutors will ask us about Jesus and how we are related to him.
This means that we need to know more about this Jesus whom we are going to testify about, to give witness to.
This is the Jesus who said that we would be hated by all because of his name. Felix Wantang in God's Blueprint of the Holy Bible: Volume 2 says “Persecuting Christians because of Jesus Christ is like a man who goes after the children of his enemy because he is indeed afraid of his enemy.” In other words all those who hate us because of Jesus really hate Jesus but they fear Jesus, so instead they hate us and persecute us. According to shoebat.com 100,000 Christians are killed each year because of their faith in Jesus. That is, 274 Christians are killed every day or 11 Christians every hour die for Jesus in a painful way. Another website expresses it this way, “One Christian slaughtered every five minutes” (gatestoneinstitute.org).
Jesus is indeed the most hated man in all of history. His followers have been killed since the beginning of his church and continues until now and will continue till he comes back.
At the same time he is the most loved man in all of history. Everyday the Church commemorates a saint or a martyr who gave life and all for the love of him. Thousands upon thousands have died for love of him. These 100,000 Christians who die every year are giving up their lives for the love of Jesus.
Dr James Allen Francis in the early 19 hundreds gave a sermon from which some have taken an excerpt and modified it to fit our times. They made this excerpt into a poem and entitled it One Solitary Life.
Today we end this homily with that poem. I add only a few words at the beginning and end. You listen reverently as I read it before you reverently also.
One Solitary Life
Jesus was born in an obscure village,
The child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in still another village,
Where he worked in a carpenter’s shop
Until he was thirty.
Then for three years
He was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn’t go to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles
From the place where he was born.
He did none of the things
One usually associates with greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He was only thirty-three
When the tide of public opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to his enemies.
And went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed to a cross
Between two thieves.
While he was dying,
His executioners gambled for his clothing,
The only property he had on Earth.
When he was dead,
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone,
And today he is the central figure
Of the human race,
And the leader of mankind’s progress.
All the armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned,
Put together have not affected
The life of man on Earth
As much as that
One Solitary Life.
To him be praise and glory, now and forever, Amen.
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Note for the readers:
The Mass readings are from the New American Bible Revised Edition (NABRE). This is where our Lectionary gets the readings.
NAB stands for New American Bible (before it was revised). This is the translation I use. Unless otherwise stated the text I use is from this translation.
AV stands for Authorized Version of the Bible. It is more commonly referred to as the King James Bible. It is the version most used in English literature, therefore it is the one known more by the English speaking world.