Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: End of the World

33C--The readings this Sunday speak of the end of the world.

When all these bad things happen and your enemies are plotting against you, then this is the time to tell others of the amazing love of God and to share the Good News! Apocalyptic writings arise in response to a type of crisis which can be useful now in the present times.

To be faithful-

Jesus proclaimed the joy of salvation but he was also a realist. Overcoming the powers of evil would be cataclysmic and apocalyptic. He foretells the pains that would precede the final victory of good over evil.

In the First Reading, fire is used as a symbol for both reward and punishment. It will be scorching heat for those who not followed God’s ways and not did repent, and it will bring warmth and healing rays to those who have been faithful and applied their faith to real life, e.g.

A rabbi and a soap maker went for a walk together. The soap maker said, “What good is religion? Look at all the trouble and misery of the world. Still there, even after years—thousands of years—of teaching about goodness and truth and peace. Still there after all the prayers and sermons and teachings. If religion is good and true, why should this be?”

The rabbi said nothing. They continued walking until the rabbi notices a child playing in the gutter. Then the rabbi said, “Look at the child. You say that soap makes people clean, but see the dirt on that youngster. Of what good is soap? With all the soap in the world, the child is still filthy. I wonder how effective soap is, after all!” The soap maker protested. “But, Rabbi, soap cannot do any good unless it is used!” “Exactly,” replied the rabbi. “And so it is with religion. It is ineffective unless it is applied.'

2). To be joyful-

I will be with you and will support you, Jesus says. Even if things get really bad, not a hair on your head will be lost. Even the gray ones.

"Those aren't gray hairs you see. They're strands of birthday glitter growing out of my head."

In our Gospel Reading today, the disciples are looking out over the temple, which was a magnificent structure, and Jesus speaks to them of the day when not one stone would be left upon another. That happened in 70 AD. Yet not that, nor future wars and insurrections would signal the end of the world. He does mention that persecution would occur before the end.

Jesus tells the disciples not to prepare their defense, for God would give them what they were to say when the time came. They were to trust that God would deliver them from all of their difficulties.

To deliver does not mean that God would make it all better. Many of them would still die as martyrs. Yet, even in martyrdom, God would hold them in his heart and love. Their perseverance would secure their lives but not necessarily their earthly lives, but certainly their lives in the world to come.

Regardless of what happens you will know that you are loved by God.

In the 14th century, Julian of Norwich came to a deep awareness that this was Jesus’ promise to his followers. Julian had a profound spiritual experience of God, and in this experience she learned that God promises both her and us that even when the going gets really tough, “all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well.”

When someone asked Julian the meaning of Jesus’s words in the midst of the sufferings and injustices of the world, she replied: “Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For love.”

So, Julian is impressed with her need to be joyful in all circumstances, however adverse, and for no particular reason, except this: that all things will ultimately be put right by Christ.

3.) To apply yourself daily-

Second Reading, St. Paul says don’t be lazy or a busybody was his “updating” for a community that once expected the immanent return of the Lord, and had stopped being productive.

Speaking of lazy,

A company president was addressing her employees: “I know you’ve all heard that we’re going to be automated,” she said, “and you’re worried that these robots will take over your jobs. Well, I’m happy to tell you that not only will no one be laid off, but you will only be required to come to work one day a week for a full week’s pay. That’s right, you’ll only have to work on Wednesdays but you’ll still receive your full salary!”

And then a voice piped up from the back of the room. Someone asked, “Do you mean EVERY Wednesday?”

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