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08/07/16 Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Ron

Homily Summary 19th Sunday in OT ~ Landry 

If you knew today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? There are probably as many different answers to that question as there are people here to consider it. And as interesting as your answers would be, wouldn't you be interested in hearing what a revered saint of the Church had to state about this profoundly deep theological question? St. Francis of Assisi declared: "I would finish hoeing my garden." What are we to make of such a response? Was he being flippant? Are his words mere nonsense, or do they express a truly insightful understanding of being prepared for death? Should we take up gardening?
In today's passage from Luke's gospel, Jesus urges his disciples to maintain a strong faith, and to be always prepared for when we must face our Creator. Our Savior uses three short parables to illustrate his point. In the first we witness the servants being ever-ready for the master's return; and our Lord says, "Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival."  The servants have faith the master will return, they simply don't know when. And so they remain in a constant state of readiness, carrying on their tasks just as if the Master was to walk in the door that very moment.
Another parable reminds of the ever-present threat of a thief breaking into our home. Who among us, knowing when this was to occur, would not take measures to prevent it? One is reminded of the temptations of the Devil; the thief who prowls through our lives constantly hunting for an opportunity rob us of  God's grace.
The full version of today's gospel contains a third parable in which a servant abuses his position while the Master is away. Jesus reminds us that God is always with us and that we will be held responsible for all our actions when the end time comes. That same servant fails to prepare for his Master's return, and our Lord tells how he was punished severely. We can imagine how this servant felt secure in the notion that he had plenty of time to prepare; and when the Master returned, the servant was caught unawares.
When asked what he would do if he knew when he was going to die, St. Francis simply replied, "I would finish hoeing my garden." In light of the parables our Lord shared with us, Francis' response takes on a profound meaning. We can certainly infer that he would do nothing different. And, if that's the case, then we can surmise that this venerable saint spent every moment in his life as if it might be his last.
It is a foundational concept of our faith as catholic Christians that we live in hope of spending eternal life with God if we live our lives accordingly. Jesus Christ is the exemplar of how we must conduct our lives.


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