Homily 32nd Sunday In Ordinary Time
(2Mac 7:1-2,9-14;2 Thes16-35; Lk 20:27-38)
What is certain in life? You may answer by saying, “Nothing is certain in life.” But if we are dwelling too long in this answer that means we are focusing too much on the many changing sides of the outer life and forgetting about the underlying eternal truth which becomes the basis of our lives. That underlying eternal truth is that Christ died for us, Christ has risen from the dead, and Christ offers us the new life which lasts forever. When we are bogged down with all of the new problems and challenges in life every day, we tend to forget that the real thing in life is to hope. We can hope precisely because our life is an everlasting life. Our hope can rise above all of the discouragement from this world precisely because our life is not bound by the power of this world. Our life is sustained by the resurrection of Christ. Thus, what we need to do is to repeatedly choose to hope. Regardless of the life difficulties we may encounter, we need to say repeatedly: I choose to hope in the everlasting life Christ has given me. If we can repeat this short prayer every day, we will build the habit of persevering in life.
The first reading reveals this kind of spiritual habit of the seven brothers: "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him.” For them it was not about dying that matters. It was about exercising their choice to hope. For them ‘hope’ is more than just a noun, it is a verb. The second reading also reveals the same kind of hope which St Paul sent to the Thessalonians. He said, “the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing and will continue to do.” For St Paul, to choose to hope is to believe in the protection of God in this life. God will help us if we do not give up in hoping. The Gospel reading strengthens our hoping in Christ when he himself confirmed to us that our God “is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” The last part gives us that strength which we need when we are down and out precisely because it gives us a confirmation from Christ himself, that God wants us to have that eternal life. It is God’s own whishes that we are keep on living.
My dear brothers and sisters, entering into the last stages of this liturgical year, before we move into the season of advent as the start for the next liturgical year, we are reminded about the value of choosing to hope. Death as the final experience of living in this world is the symbol during this time which is used to remind us about the eternal lives God has granted us through the resurrection of Christ. If this world is teaching us not to have hope because of fear that we will be disappointed, Jesus teaches all of us that we do not need to succumbed to the power of death. Yes, we will experience death in our lives along with all of the fear, hopelessness, sadness it will bring. But we can rise above those experience if we choose to hope in the power of eternal life God has granted us. Don’t believe in the power of death. No matter what new challenges we have every day, we are always able to choose to hope.
by Fr. Antonius Firmansyah, SJ