Sunday, August 22, 2010

“God owns heaven but He craves the earth”

“Union with God is the only heaven there is, and it begins here on earth.”

Gospel text (Lk 13:22-30): Jesus went through towns and villages teaching and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, «Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?». And Jesus answered, «Do your best to enter by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you will stand outside; then you will knock at the door calling: ‘Lord, open to us’. But he will say to you: ‘I do not know where you come from’. Then you will say: ‘We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets!’. But he will reply: ‘I don't know where you come from. Away from me all you workers of evil’. You will weep and grind your teeth when you see Abraham and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves left outside. Others will sit at table in the kingdom of God, people coming from east and west, from north and south. Some who are among the last will be the first, and others who were first will be last!».

Today, the Gospel raises the theme of the salvation for our souls. This is the essence of Christ’s message and the “supreme law of the Church” (in fact, this is also mentioned in Code of Canon Law). The salvation of our soul is an actual fact insofar as a gift from God, but for those of us that have not yet crossed the threshold of death, it is only a possibility. To be saved or to be damned to hell! That is, to accept or to reject God's everlasting offer of love.

St. Augustine said «the man who self-annihilated his goodness, which could have been eternal, deserved the eternal damnation». We have only two possibilities in our life: either God or the void, for without God nothing has any meaning. In this sense, when they do not participate of the essence of God, life, death, joy, pain, love, etc., are just concepts without any logic. When the man sins, he avoids the Creator's glance to center it upon himself. God is constantly looking at the sinner with love, and in order not to force his freedom, He expects a minimum gesture of being willing to get back to him.

«Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?» (Lk 13:23). Christ does not respond to this question. Therefore, it remained unanswered, just as it is today, for «it is an inscrutable mystery between the saintliness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, Christians' only opportune position» (John Paul II). The Church does not state any opinion about those who dwell in hell, but —basing itself in Christ's words— it does state an opinion about its existence and the fact there will be many damned in the Final Judgment. And whoever denies this, whether clerical or lay, incurs, without further ado, in heresy.

We are free to turn the stare of our soul towards the Savior, and we are also free to stick to our refusal. If we struggle every day, we will gain eternal life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls self-mastery a training in human freedom. "The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy" (#2339). The Catechism goes on to say that "self-mastery is a long and exacting work. One can never consider it acquired once and for all. It presupposes renewed effort at all stages of life" (#2342).

To conclude, be consistent with your spiritual life. Form firm habits of daily prayer. Get to confession every month or whenever necessary. Be sure to form these habits in your children. Do not let sloth ruin your personal happiness. Do not let sloth cause you to lose out on getting to heaven.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed" (Hebrews 12: 12-13).

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