Sunday 23 November 2014

3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Life here on earth is quite unpredictable. Today we may seem healthy and content, but we do not know what could happen tomorrow. Many of us may be quite uncomfortable to talk about death, and there are some who consider it a taboo topic. However, the fact of the matter is, all of us will die one day. It does not matter whether we are young or old, sick or healthy, death can come at any time. This is why we are always reminded that life is short and we should set our priorities right. We should not be spending too much time in less important things, while disregarding or procrastinating on the more important ones, the ones that really matter.

This is what the readings today are trying to remind us. In today's Gospel, Jesus begins His message of Good News by telling us: "The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News." Jesus is telling us that now is the time to change our ways, to make God our priority, to let God take control of our lives. We cannot wait till tomorrow, or next month, or even next year; we must decide now, because tomorrow may never come. The Ninevites in today's first reading got the idea of how urgent it was to change their ways. They did not wait or waste time, instead, "the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least." As a result, "God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour. And God relented: He did not inflict on them the disaster which He had threatened." Even St. Paul in today's second reading cautions us with the same message: "Brothers: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away."

Some of us may be wondering why we are talking about death and repentance at the beginning of the year. Some may think that we are being too pessimistic or too cautious, and that we should continue living life to the fullest. But the point is: death can come suddenly, and all our plans for the year, no matter how grand or wonderful they may be, will no longer matter. What matters is our relationship with God. Is our relationship with God healthy? Have we let God be the master of our lives? If the answer is still "no," then we need to do something about it. We need to seize every opportunity to grow closer to God, and repent and believe in His Good News. Why wait till it's too late?

We call ourselves Christians, but are we prepared to follow Christ completely, with no ifs or buts, no terms or conditions? Are we willing to change our ways and let God take control? Are we prepared to "leave our nets and follow him”? Saying that we are willing to do so is easy, but what we say could be merely words, empty words. Let us make the decision today, and let God reign in our hearts.

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