Year C 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mal 4:1-2; 2 Thess. 3:7-12; Lk. 21:5-19
Today’s readings speak to us about the need for endurance. During the First Reading, we heard of the necessity to endure in righteousness. In the Second Reading, we heard of the necessity to endure in our imitation of the
saints. And in the Gospel Reading, we heard of the necessity to endure in our living faith. To summarize all of this, we must persevere in our living faith through righteousness and the imitation of the saints.

Endurance is a great virtue. But rarely people possess it. We often choose the easy path and give at the start or after a little while.
There are many people who proved that endurance will lead to great success.
Born on November 17, 1906, in Japan, Soichiro was the only child of a traditional working family. His mother was a weaver and father used to run a bicycle repair business.
In 1938, Mr Honda was a poor student who had a dream of designing a piston ring that he would sell to any manufacture for Toyota Corporation. Every day he would go to school, and all night long he would work on his design, up to his elbows in grease. He spent what little money he had on his project, and it still wasn't finished. Finally, he hocked his wife's jewellery to continue.
After years of effort he finally designed the piston ring he was sure Toyota would buy. When he took it to them, they rejected it. He was sent back to school to suffer the humiliation of his teachers' and friends' telling him what an idiot he was for designing such a ridiculous gadget.
Finally he built his factory and was finally able to produce his piston rings. During the war, the United States bombed his factory, destroying most of it. Finally, an earthquake levelled his factory. He decided to write a letter to every single bicycle - shop owner in Japan, telling them that he thought he had the solution for getting Japan moving again, that his motorbike would be cheap and would help people get what they needed to go. Then he wrote 18000 letters asking them to invest. Of the 18,000 bicycle - shop owners who received a letter, 3,000 gave Mr Honda money, and he manufactured his first shipment.
Today, Mr Honda's company is one of the most successful in the world. Honda Corporation now employs over 100,000 people and outsells almost all cars.
Honda’s humble beginning, persistence and determination made him one of the most powerful and influential businessmen of twentieth century. His story is known to be the most inspirational story that teaches us about the power of endurance.
In today’s Gospel passage Jesus speaks about endurance in Spiritual life.
 We have a great ancestral history of people who won their crowns by their endurance. The history starts with the first martyr Stephen, extends through the period of persecution to the modern times.
Jesus told his listeners, 'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven. But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.

You will be betrayed even by parents, by brothers and sisters, and by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls.'" [Lk. 21:5-19]
Today the church calls us to endure in our faith by doing good works. The challenges that we face are many today. As science and technology evolve the challenges to faith also take new forms. Internet has brought knowledge to the finger tips. Media brings to home screens hourly updates of what is happening around. Unfiltered exposure of the children to them does more harm to them. It derails their thoughts and displaces their value systems. They become insensitive to the feelings and needs of the others.
It is very important that we are conscious of what we are. I like to share with you a good message some sent to me. Once a child asked his mother, “Mom, How much is my life worth?” She said, “That is a big question.” She gave him a stone and said, “Find out the value of that stone. When you are done return home. Then I will answer your question” He visited a grocery shop and asked, “Sir, can you tell me how much this stone cost?” He examined the stone and replied. “I do not know little man. I can give you a banana for it.” Then he visited a museum and enquired how the museum would pay for the stone. He replied that they did not need one of these in their collection. Then he met jeweller and showed the stone. The man said, “The gem you have here, is the most perfect gem I have ever seen. I can’t tell the price of it. To me it appears priceless.”
He returned home and asked his mother, “How much is it actually worth? And what does have to do with the value of my life? ”
Mother said, “People will value you based on their level of information and their belief in you. But that does not change you. You are priceless. Remember to surround yourself with people who value you just like the jeweller valued that gem, with love, care and affection. Because you are truly priceless.” We are all priceless and God cares for each one of us.
To enhance the value of endurance in spiritual life we have to surround ourselves with those who cherish Christian values – love care and affection.  It will help us to transform ourselves and impart our value system to others. Hence we will be able to say with St Paul, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim.4:7).