33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time C22
What would you do or not do if you were convinced the Jesus would come very soon?
That was the situation in Thessalonica where, as a result of Paul’s preaching, a small group of believers were confident that Jesus would come in glory very soon, maybe tomorrow. And so, they stopped working and just waited. But as tomorrows kept piling up, they had to resort on relying on their more pragmatic townspeople for something to eat. After even more tomorrows passed, their neighbors were losing patience to what they were coming to believe: that they were only lazy day dreamers who were taking advantage of their charity.
So, they got in touch with Paul. And Paul responded angrily, saying he, in toil and drudgery, night and day, worked so that he and his companions would not be a burden on any of them, though he had a right to get a food stipend. In effect, he was telling those who were disorderly to get off their couches and get busy instead of minding the business of others (I liked the previous translation: “not keeping busy but being busy bodies”).
Now, it is an article of our faith that Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead. But, when? What signs will there be? Time and again, some people say now is the time or very soon. “Look, there are earthquakes, wars, famines, plagues, awesome sights and mighty signs coming from the sky like meteors, eclipses, or even UFO’S. Believers are being persecuted and hauled into court.”
What should we do then? Stop providing for our families? The paper that is due at the end of semester, forget about it? The exams or quizzes coming up, why study? I remember watching football games at my uncle’s house when he had one of the first TV’s. I would see a snowstorm at the Chicago Bears game at Soldier Field and would get excited because it should be coming our way!! School would be cancelled! I wouldn’t have to finish my homework! YES! More often than not, I was disappointed when I woke up early the next morning. I had to finish my homework after all.
What should we do then? Everything we are doing now that expresses we are disciples of Christ: believe, pray, being good to one another, practice mercy, take care of the truly poor, fight for justice, protect our common home, the earth, trust in God’s mercy and justice, be humble, and realize our utter dependence on God.
Yes, the signs have always been with humanity from the time of the Lord’s Ascension. But,
It is amazing how often God, in both Testaments of the Bible, tells us, “Do not be. afraid.”