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KEEP HIS WORD WHILE YOU AWAIT HIS GLORIOUS RETURN
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, 27th Week of the Year, October 12, 2013
Joel 3:12-21, Ps. 96, Luke 11:27-28


"And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the stream beds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the valley of Shittim" (Joel 3:18).


The prophet Joel predicts the day of the Lord, a day of destruction and judgment, but afterward a time of salvation for the faithful remnant of his people. On that day "the sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining" (Joel 3:15). "The sun shall be turn to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes" (Joel 2:31). But finally God's salvation shall appear, and there will be great blessings on earth, until "the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk" (Joel 3:18). This is what we are longing for now, the second and glorious coming of Jesus Christ on earth and the renewal of the world.


But in order to be among those who are saved on that great day, we have to do the will of God now. If we do not do his will, we will fall out of his protection and love, and will be punished by him. But once we have been forgiven and saved by the merits of Christ's death on the cross, where he paid our debt of punishment for our sins for us through our faith, we are to do God's will to remain in his love and grace and not fall out of it again by disobeying him. In this way we will also grow in progressive sanctification and avoid his punishment, for "if you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love" (John 15:10). We keep his will to remain in and not fall out of his love.


Today, as Jesus was speaking, "a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts that you sucked!' But he said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it'" (Luke 11:27-28). It is better to hear and keep God's word than even to be the mother of Jesus. On another occasion "he was told, ‘Your mother and your brethren are standing outside, desiring to see you.' But he said to them, ‘My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it'" (Luke 8:20-21). In other words, hearing and doing the word of God even makes us equal to the mother and brethren of Jesus.


Only in this way--by hearing and doing the word of God--will we be prepared for the day of the Lord. Only in this way will we be part of the faithful remnant of the people of God who will see the mountains drip down sweet wine, and the hills flow with milk. Only in this way will we see these blessings of God that we now long for. If we want the love of God to be perfected in us, we will have to live in conformity with his will and keep his commandments. "Whoever keeps his word, in him truly love for God is perfected ... He who says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked" (1 John 2:5, 6). "He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him" (John 14:21). Let us therefore keep God's commandments while we await Christ's glorious return, so that we may be among those who see these great blessings upon the earth.

 

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