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Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 13:1-9 & Luke 17:26-37

The author of the Book of Wisdom talks about the stupidity of those who have not known God and, from the things He has created, have not been able to discover Him. Sadly, they worship the stars and the moon, and fail to worship the One Who created them. He feels compassion, not condemnation for them. “Look deeper. You think these are great. They are nothing compared with their Maker. Know how much better the Lord of these excels them.” (Wis. 13:3-4).

Today, most people don’t worship the stars and the moon - but how many worship the lure of sex, money and power? In this age of information technology so many know nothing of the highest wisdom that we can attain – the knowledge of Christ. The psalmist exclaims, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God.” (Ps. 19:1).

Well, if the heavens can proclaim God’s glory, so can we. The love that fills our home, the way we handle conflicts and relate to people around us, the comfort we bring to those in distress – all this can speak of God to a world that longs for a taste of real beauty and goodness. Let us never forget that just like beautiful sunsets and impressive mountains we ought to give witness to God, looking for opportunities to draw others to Him by the goodness in our lives. Our deeds and our words, like the heavens, should proclaim the glory of God, the source of everything that is good.

The Gospel is all about Jesus’ warning of His return on the last day, the Day of Judgement. The Apostles did not ask when but where. Jesus quoted a familiar proverb, “Where the body is, there too will the vultures gather.” This means the event will be readily discernible. The return of the Lord is certain, but the time is unknown. The Lord's judgment comes swiftly and sometimes unexpectedly. Jesus warns His listeners not to be caught off-guard when that day arrives. It will surely come in God's good time!

What does Jesus mean when He says that one person will be taken and another left? God judges each person individually on how they have responded to His mercy and gracious invitation to live as citizens of His kingdom. We cannot pass off personal responsibility to someone else, such as a close friend, spouse or family member. No one can discharge his or her duty to another. The good news is that God gives grace and help to all who seek Him with faith. The Lord Jesus gives us His Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help and strength we need to turn away from sin and embrace His way of love and holiness. The Lord's warning of judgment is a cause for dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly anticipate the Lord's return in glory.

The people in Noah's time ignored the Lord's warning of judgment but continued to be preoccupied with their routine of life. Then the flood came and destroyed all those who had given no heed to his warning (Luke 17:26, 27). Whose boat are we taking - the world's boat to short-lived success and happiness or God's boat to an eternal kingdom and bliss with Him?

Something similar happened in the city of Sodom. People were busy with their everyday concerns until a downpour of fire and brimstone destroyed them all. The judgement came at an unexpected time.

Likewise it will be on the day “the Son of Man is revealed.” His return in glory for judgment will find people preoccupied with their daily routine and not expecting a sudden day of reckoning (Luke 17:28-30). Being in a state of readiness for Christ’s return requires us to be faithful to Him at all times. This could even include sacrificing our very life because to save it in ways that would constitute disloyalty to Christ would mean losing the real life of an enduring relationship with Him and His Father. The person losing life for the sake of the Son of God would be preserving it, and his resurrection would be assured at the time Jesus returned.

Lord Jesus, we place all our hope in You because You have redeemed the world by Your death on the Cross, and by Your victory over the grave. Help us never to lose sight of the goal of Heaven, whatever the circumstances of our life, that we may live each day in joyful anticipation of Your return in glory.

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