Don't Get Distracted!

Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Reading 1 Mal 3:19-20a Psalm Ps 98:5-6, 7-8, 9 Reading II 2 Thes 3:7-12 Gospel Lk 21:5-19

Three lessons from today’s Scriptures about the end of the World.

Don’t Get Distracted!

You don’t know when or how – so don’t get distracted. Jesus doesn’t answer the when and with the signs he gives general ideas, but not specifics. This is done so that we stay focused on what is important, my relationship with Christ rather than looking to the news papers – for astrology, and other superstitions that lead me astray because they are founded in falsehood.

Examples of ways that we get distracted
How can we get distracted? What are some examples of distracted people / places / ways?

See that you are not deceived
Tim Lehaye – The Left Behind series is a good example of this. These books speak about the “Rapture” – which is Christian theology about how the second coming of Christ will come about. They are based on some thinking done by a Irish Protestant pastor from the 1830’s and are not grounded in Church teaching or theology. We agree in the events, but not the sequencing and order of things to happen. If you read this kind of stuff, do it with a healthy dose of skepticism – and then go read in the Catechism (CCC 1021 – 1065) to see what the Church teaches.

“The Time has Come.”
Have you ever had the Jehovah’s Witnesses, come by to visit you? Basically, the witnesses are heretics (I am using this as a theological term – not to be derisive) – A heretic is someone who believes in false teaching about the nature of God, and the nature of the Church. Anyway, I mention the witnesses because they have believed in a variety of times for the end of the world. (First it was 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1989).

What does Jesus say to these people? No one knows the time except the Father. So don’t get distracted by them.

“I am He”
We have had various people come and claim to be Christ. The leader of the Nation of Islam – a racist cult of personality around Louis Farakhan is one such example. Another is that of the Branch Davidian Cult that died in the tragic fire in Waco Texas in 1993. Both of these people claimed to be the messiah, and yet their testimony was unconvincing. Christ warns us not to get distracted because at the time of the second coming he will come in his power and majesty, and he will be unmistakable and undeniable. So we need not be worried.

What happens to people who get distracted?
They start behaving like some of the Thessalonians – They sat around eating and drinking waiting for the world to end. Don’t be a Thessalonian, rather pursue your daily life of prayer and tend to your responsibilities so that you are prepared for the end of the world.

By your perseverance you will secure your lives.
Instead of following after strange teachings, or times or places – persevere in following the Gospel. It is by daily living a holy life that you are prepared for the end of the world.

The Gospel says that we don’t know the time or the place of the end of the world. But it will come, and when it does, it is our relationship with Christ that will be our salvation.

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