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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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Homily for Friday of the 34th Week in OT, 26 November 2021, Luke 21,29-33
One of the good things that this pandemic has brought about is the fact that it has diminished our human activities that are desructive to our environment. It has given the earth a chance to breathe, an opportunity to recover from abuse by us humans.
The image of Jesus in today’s Gospel treating the fig tree like a teacher and learning a lesson from it is one of the original trademarks of our Rabbi from Nazareth. I imagine him surrounded by children, explaining that the fig tree blossoms were a sign that summer was near. A very refreshing scene of a peaceable kingdom.
When this pandemic finally ends, and we still are blessed with a few more years ahead of us, please take time to make peace with the rest of creation. Take time to be reconciled with the nature that has just taken its revenge on us and claimed more than five million lives.
How do we do that, you may ask? I advise you to pray that canticle that was read as our responsorial psalm today. I call it one of the best ecological passages in the Bible. It is found in the same book of Daniel which we have been reading for the past few days now. It is what I call a prayer in the most unlikely places, much like the prayer of the prophet Jonah inside the belly of the fish that had swallowed him. Take time to read that one too, one of these days! This one is a prayer of the three friends of Daniel inside the fiery furnace!
The author tells us an angel had accompanied them inside that fiery furnace and walked with them. THis passage must have been the original inspiration for that line in the song BE NOT AFRAID that says, “If you walk amid the burning flames you shall not be harmed.”
The story tells us the three young men, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael, who, by the way, were the original biblical advocates of vegetarianism, were punished by the King. For what? For refusing to worship the idol made of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had installed in his palace and ordered the Babylonians to worship. Of course, our young Jewish heroes would not do that; they worshipped only Yahweh, the God of Israel.
So they were thrown inside a huge oven—what we might call today a crematorium. This one is a crematorium, not for the dead, but for the living, similar to the ones Hitler had built in Dachau. You see, our first reading is right. In the end, our beastly tendencies will pass away. And only that which is genuinely human in us will emerge and will receive dominion.
Since Jesus in the Gospel says only his words will never pass away, it means learning to take his words to heart is our only chance at enduring the fiery furnaces of this world. But then of course, we would have to be first purified by many trials. Daniel chapter 3 says a Son of God descended into the crematorium and walked with the three young men. And that’s when they sang the canticle we recite regularly in the Liturgy of the Hours for Sunday Week 1 and during great solemnities.
Here’s a consoling thought. What is the sign that we have learned “to walk humbly with our God”, if I may borrow from the words of the prophet Micah (6:8) . When we have learned to be one with the mountains and hills, with everything growing from the earth, with springs, with seas and rivers, with dolphins and all water creatures, with the birds of the air, with beats wild and tame… When together with all our fellow creatures and residents on this one planet earth, our common home, we shall have learned to BLESS THE LORD, TO PRAISE AND EXULT HIM ABOVE ALL FOREVER!
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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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