Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time


Dominic Savio, a school boy, died at the age of fourteen.  He was one of the students of St John Bosco.  One day, Fr John, speaking to a group of students in their playground, asked a question, “Suppose you are told you will die in an hour’s time, what would you do?”  The responses ranged from rushing to the church for prayers and confession to contacting parents and asking forgiveness from the friends they offended.  To everyone’s surprise, Dominic said, “I will continue to play”.  He said, “I am always ready to die”.  What would be your response, if you are challenged?  The Christians at the time of Mark writing the Gospel also were challenged, not by anyone asking a question, by a catastrophe they lived through.

The catastrophe happened in the first century.  Titus, son of Emperor Vespasian, sieged the City of Jerusalem for many months and looted it.  The city was set on fire and the Jerusalem Temple was flattened.  The situation was terrifying.  There were cases of the sieged people eating human flesh for survival.  Such horrible was the situation.   For the people of Jerusalem, their world seemed to fall apart.  This anguish was shared by early Christians, who were mostly Jewish converts.  In this historic situation, Mark reveals that Christians are people of hope and not to be disheartened by the apparent disaster.  It will not be all doom and gloom, because God is in charge.  The Gospel also reminds us that no historical or political event can be taken as an unequivocal indication of the end of the world, even though there will be hardships.  Count the crises as opportunities to bear witness to Christ and become holy “As for yourselves, beware; for they will hand you over to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them. And the good news must first be proclaimed to all nations.  When they bring you to trial and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what you are to say; but say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:9–12)  

You may be faced with some hardship or other.  You don’t know about the end of your own life.  Come whatever may, God is in charge.  Make use of your crises for the Kingdom.  No external disaster will impact on your destiny, but your own choice will.  “One who endures till the end will be saved.” (Mk 13:13)