HOMILY WEEK 34 06 – Year I

Being Alert and Ready at all Times

(Dan 7:15-27; Dan 3:8-87; Lk 21:34-36)


An Oblate brother playing pool was asked what he would do if he knew the world was to end that day. He replied calmly that he would keep on playing pool. Obviously, he was living the Gospel for today – he was alert and ready.

The message of Jesus to his disciples, and to us in that gospel is clear – we are to be alert at all times, praying that we may have strength to stay faithful to Jesus, his teachings, and doing his will in our lives.

The readings on this last day of the liturgical year fittingly revolve around the kingdom of God and our life within that kingdom. The readings spell out what that life is all about, adding that we are to be grounded in God’s love and grateful for that love, as well as being alert and ready for the second coming of Jesus.

The first reading continues Daniels vision of the heavens, the extinction of all evil in all its forms (the four kings), and this time, the handing over of the kingdom of God to God’s holy ones.

The psalm response, also from Daniel, and the gospel inform us what that entails.  To be holy is to be grounded in God, connected to God, especially through prayer and doing God’s will. Some today speak of a spirituality of connection, offset by others who speak of a poverty of disconnection – the bottom line of all kinds of poverty in the world today. Filled with the Spirit of love, and aware that we are beloved sons and daughter of God, we will be more capable of doing God’s will, keeping the commandments to love, and living the Beatitudes that Jesus taught us.

Within that intimate relationship with God, and fully aware of being loved by God, we will be more capable of saying “no” to the temptation to over-attach to the secondary goods of possessions, prestige, power and pleasure. These are gifts given to us to help us make our way back to God, not replace God as false gods in our lives. We are to be vigilant, watchful, alert – letting nothing come between us and our relationship with Jesus, our Lord and King.

The psalm response reminds us that to be in the kingdom of God and to be connected to God naturally involves gratitude that will express itself in praising God and giving God glory, as that is what we will be doing in the next life. This life is actually a dress rehearsal for eternal life, so we must be about now what we will be doing then and that is above all giving God praise and glory.

A man mournfully present at a wake for his deceased wife was complimented for the beautiful dress he had provided for her as she lay in her coffin. He sadly responded that he had bought that dress for her years ago. She loved it but told him she was going to save it for a special occasion. Although he had reminded her about it several times over the years, she always responded the same way – she was saving it for a special occasion. Unfortunately, her funeral turned out to be that special occasion.


We know Jesus will return someday. But we should worry less about what will happen when he does, and pay more attention to how we can wake up and respond – right now – to his presence in our lives and to how he wants to come to us and be with us each day. That’s what it means to be vigilant: to look for Jesus right here and now, not to get caught up in what he will do in the future.

Every day is another opportunity to wear our special dress, to “stand before the Son of Man.” Every day is a fresh opportunity to come into Jesus’ presence, to let him teach us through his word, to let him form our hearts through his love. If we stay faithful to him every day, and continue to soak up his love each day, we will have nothing to fear on that final day when we do stand before him once more – this time for all eternity.

The Eucharist is a very real encounter with Jesus, as we listen attentively to his Word, let it touch our minds and hearts, and receive his body and blood, letting it touch our soul with forgiveness and healing.

So, may this celebration deepen our faith in his presence in our lives, and empower us to be alert at all times, praying that we may have strength to stay faithful to him and his teachings, and do his will in our lives, loving others as he has loved us.



Updated: December 2, 2023 — 12:40 am

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