There Is Need to Hurry
Homily for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Preached on August 7-8, 2010 at Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY and Saint Mary Catholic Church, Perryville KY
Readings: Wisdom 18:6-9; Psalm 33:1, 12, 18-19, 20-22; Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-19; Luke 12:32-48
It was a slow day in hell. So Satan summoned his little demons-in-training to come up with a new plan to draw people away from God. He was going to reward the demon with the most devious plan his first horns. This got the little devils all excited and immediately a demon-tail went up in the air.
Satan asked the apprentice, “What do you suggest we do, Snakebite?” Snakebite replied, “We tell them that there is no Hell.” Satan sighed. “We tried that one before,” he said. “Somehow, God had put in people this awful sense of justice and because of that, no matter how much they try to deny it, they still perceive that there is a place for punishment. Your plan is bound to fail.”
Almost as soon as Satan dismissed this first suggestion, another demon-tail went up in the air. It was Screwtape’s and he sneered at Snakebite as he declared, “We tell them that there is no Heaven.” Satan shook his head and said, “That won’t work either. The hearts of men are always restless for their God and, however we might try to tell them that there is no Heaven, they still sense that God has a blissful somewhere in store for those who follow Him.”
The little demon pack grew silent. It seemed that no one could devise a devilish plan to snare humanity. But after a while, a demon-tail finally went up from the back of that pack. It was Wormwood and, as he worked his way to the front, he presented his idea: “We tell them that there is no hurry.” Satan smiled as he surmised, “This plan will surely succeed. People have within them the sense of Heaven and hell. But if we can keep them from considering their eternal destiny, then hell will certainly grab them before they take hold of Heaven.”
That night in hell, Wormwood earned his first horns, and since then he has led astray so many of humanity with his lie.
Satan got two things right: we know that there is hell to pay and that there is Heaven in store for the faithful. Yet, even though Jesus had warned us that He would “come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour” (Lk. 12:46), most of us, instead of being “vigilant for the Master’s arrival” (Lk. 12:37), are lured to take their sweet time. They start to believe Wormwood’s lie that “the Master is delayed in coming” (Lk. 12:45). They begin to “eat and drink and get drunk” with whatever it is that this world has to offer. Because they have no sense of a deadline, they end up treating their fellowmen in the foulest way (cf. Lk. 12:45).
But, they are mistaken. The Lord does not delay in coming. In fact, He is most eager to hold us in His embrace. In the meantime, He gives us enough space so that we might miss Him when He is missing. He gives us enough time to get ourselves into shape for His return. The Lord gives us the same opportunity that He gave to Abraham and all those who have died in faith so that we too might come to realize that we are “strangers and aliens on earth,” that we are destined for the heavenly homeland that He has in store (Heb. 11:13, 16).
Wormwood is wrong; there is a need to hurry in preparing ourselves for the coming of the Lord. If we delay, we would only find our hearts set on the passing pleasures of the day and we would lose our grip on eternity. Once we lose sight of eternity, all hell is bound to break loose.