Tuesday, June 25, 2013

“If you stopped tellin' people it's all sorted out after they're dead, they might try sorting it all out while they're alive.”

'If you wish to imitate the multitude, then you shall not be among the few who shall enter in by the narrow gate.' - St. Augustine, Doctor and Father of the Church

Gospel Text: (MT 7:6, 12-14)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets.

“Enter through the narrow gate;
for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction,
and those who enter through it are many.
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life.
And those who find it are few.”

Hell was not part of God's original plans, for everything he created was and is good. He formed us in his image and likeness in order to share his life and love, but as we all know God gives us free will to choose. Always remember, the Church proposes, it does not impose itself on others and nor should we. With that being said, Jesus made it possible for us, if we choose, to misuse our freedom against Him, others, and ourselves. Sin, suffering, death and hell are not of God but of those who refuse Him, the consequences of a disordered self-love so strong that it excludes the love of God.

Hell exists! It is the state, as the Catechism calls it, of "definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed." It is the tragic possibility of human freedom for those who, in voluntarily choosing sin, separate themselves from God and others.

After some reflecting on today’s gospel reading, perhaps we should look at this narrow gate as the gate of surrender. Perhaps it is a matter of our allowing Jesus into our hearts and into our relationships so that he can teach us a new way of living and a new way of loving. And the truth is, it’s hard to humble ourselves to such a degree. It’s hard to give Jesus control of our lives, even if he promises to rule us in love and compassion, in tenderness and mercy.

Brothers and sisters, the Golden Rule works only to the degree that we let Jesus work in us. He can teach us to offer forgiveness and love instead of judgment and hatred. His love can soften our hearts so that he can reshape them to reflect his own compassion, peace, and eagerness to serve. The Golden Rule works only as we seek the grace to treat other people the way Jesus has treated us. And we can only do that if we let Jesus in and slowly allow him to change us. This my friends is the path that leads to the narrow gate.

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