Homily – Fr. Alan Gilmore – Rooting our Faith in God

The first and third of today’s readings (32nd Sunday) refer to widows. The readings about them deal with the symbolism of ‘giving’, actually self-giving! Both of these
widows are clearly persons of faith. They seem calm and peaceful – even as the widow in the first  reading informs Elijah that she and her son will soon die from starvation!  Their actions display a profound  trust in God. They realize that the future is in God’s hands.  Their lives most certainly have been hard. They have no doubt  suffered. They have struggled.  And in the struggles of their lives they have learned  one of life’s central facts: We are not in charge!  God is! We don’t choose to be born  or to die, nor of much that happens in between. These widows, on the surface, appear  to be nothing of  worth, nothing of value.  With a closer look, however , we see that these ‘poor’ widows possess a priceless understanding of God, of what life is all about.
They have learned that: what gives meaning to their lives, what make their struggles have purpose, what gives them  calm certainty to their lives is knowing WHO is ultimately in charge.
We can, and often do, forget that!  It is especially easy to forget, when through real effort, we may have achieved some  worthwhile accomplishment, and life is progressing smoothly.  It often takes a hard knock from life to bring us back to reality.  The concrete ways that we choose to respond to those reality checks sets the tone and purpose of our lives – and the end of virtual reality for us!
God our Creator knows we can come to understand the nature of  how life works, how reality operates.  God knows that his Son has graced us with the Gift of the Eucharist.  When our relationship with God is rooted  in that Great Gift, we know that, as the psalmist says, “The Lord  keeps faith forever”! It is in this relationship  we will know that God is God and that we are God’s instruments.  That’s how it is and not vice-versa! When with God’s grace, we figure that out, our lives will display that same calm spirit of faith-filled certainty of the holy unnamed women whose praises are sung in today’s Scripture Readings.
As we prepare to celebrate this Eucharist today,  let us thank  God for the gift of our life and faith , and ask for the grace and courage to imitate – in real ways in our life – these two widows.
This 32nd Sunday of Ordinary time comes quite near the end of the Liturgical year. The readings for these last Sundays are meant to remind us that time too shall end; to remind us of a far more  dramatic and final  End.
Every year there is information and misinformation concerning the end of the world. There is a good  deal of it today. Two thousand years ago the Apostles thought the Lord would return in their day.  For the Christian, the Catholic, the End   will be the Second  Return of the Lord.  During every Mass we pray for that Great Day. Listen: ”We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior”, “He will come to judge the living and the dead’”  ”Lord  Jesus come in glory!”, ”Ready to greet him when he comes again”,  and “When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come !”  When he comes,  he will, Paul remind us in today’s 2nd Reading “Bring  salvation to those who eagerly await him.” God grant that we, widow- like, may be among them!       Come, Lord Jesus!
( l Kgs l7, l0- l6, Heb 9, l4-28, Mk l2, 38-44)                   Fr Alan