Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - The Present Moment!
Most people set themselves to get the most out of life; and yet, many remain disappointed with their efforts as they look back on so many lost opportunities. Whatever may be said about our everyday achievements, today's readings give a clear message not to be caught short on the day of judgment.

Malachy 3:19-20 - The Israelites have not had it easy. To lift their drooping spirits, the Prophet Malachy tells them that the day of the Lord will come, as surely as the sun rises in the morning, and justice will be done equally to good and evil people.

2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 - At this point in history, the expectation of the second coming of Christ was wide spread in the Christian community and, with it, the end of the world. Paul argues that this should not be an excuse to sit and do nothing, and he offers his own behaviour as an example to be followed.

Luke 21: 5-19 - "One day at a time" would appear to sum up the Lord's advice to those who are concerned by the rumours concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. One thing certain is that those who become his disciples will experience hardship and opposition; such trials, however, will count in eternity.

Point 1: - Going back to my opening statement that ,despite early hopes and aspirations, many people remain disappointed with living; and, as they remain on the periphery of life, it is worth while identifying some of the reasons why this is so. As always, many reasons can be given to explain why people don't seem to have much to show for their efforts. There are those who, because of past failure, become unsure and negative in their approach - a sort of, 'once burnt, twice shy' approach. There are others who glamorise the past, transforming it into a golden age and so neglect the challenge of the present. Other spend their lives waiting for the big opportunity to make a start, and it never happens! There are some who, from the human point of view, are simply born losers; but not, necessarily, from God's point of view. Whichever group we look at, one thing in common appears - all groups are neglecting the present moment.

Point 2: For a short time - five years - I served as part-time Chaplain with the Royal Australian Air force, and, for fifteen years as auxiliary Chaplain to the US Navy Base at Exmouth. In that time, I came into contact with a variety of "leaders". There were those who were all "spit and polish" more concerned with appearances than performance; others were thoughtful, caring men who recognised that they needed to concern themselves with the conditions of living off base as much as on base for their troops and their families. Then there was one known to all and sundry as "Gonna"! He was always going to do things, but rarely did.

Conclusion: I suppose, in a way, there is a little bit of "Gonna" in most of us. Either we spend our time clinging to past achievement or daydreaming about future exploits and, either way, the present passes us by. I would like to have a dollar for every time my parents reminded me - "There's no time like the present" or "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"! And if we take the broad view of life presented to us by religion - that we have been created in the image of God to know, love and serve Him on earth to be happy with Him in heaven - and if we also take time to look at the instructions given to us by Christ on how to know, love and serve, we will find as many warnings about neglecting opportunities for good as we find condemnation for evil behaviour. In other words, sins of omission rank equally, if not more so, with sins of commission in achieving our eternal destiny. We must learn the value of the present moment and to recognise the opportunities it offers, if we are to achieve ultimate success in life. This is true whether our goals be material or spiritual.

Scriptural reference We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. :"[John 9:4]