The readings of late have focused a lot on the good and the bad. We hear over and over again that the good will be gathered up at the time of the harvest and enter into the eternal rejoicing of heaven. The bad, however, will be thrown “into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”
THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!
I keep hearing people talk about how hell isn’t real and how even if it were real, God loves us too much to send us there. First of all, hell is real. Jesus speaks of it over and over again. By the reality that sin is real, hell must exist. Sin doesn’t just magically go away at the moment of death. What a cruel God we would have to send us to earth just to suffer. No, we suffer because a choice must be made by all. We suffer so that we and others can choose to love God. Secondly, God doesn’t send anyone to hell. We send ourselves there. There is a kernel of truth to the statement “God loves us too much to send us there.” He offers us the option to spend eternity with Him in heaven… but it’s not quite as simple as that. It’s not enough to say “Lord, Lord. I want to spend eternity with you in heaven!” We live that proclamation with our lives.
The life of discipleship is like marriage. When we say “yes” to Jesus, we effectively profess a vow. We swear to be faithful to Him. When we sin, we are unfaithful. Imagine venial sins are like acts of selfishness. They don’t completely reject the vow, but they don’t do the vow service. Mortal sins are like infidelity. When we mortally sin, we cheat on our beloved spouse. We completely reject the commitment we made to Jesus.
What we do matters. Why we do it matters. Our actions have eternal consequences.
But here’s the good news. God sent His Son to save us! God doesn’t want to condemn us! But we must repent, repent, repent, every day! As the clay in the first reading, we can always be remade!
Let us not fear judgment; no, let us instead rejoice in the coming judgment. Let us choose God above ourselves. Let us trust in His mercy. And let us, above all else, love the Lord our God, conform our lives to His will, root out every sin and imperfection, and unite ourselves to Him in prayer.
Start small. Do you pray every day? If not, start! Start with 10 minutes a day of silent prayer with Scripture. Commit. Do you go to confession often? If not, start! Start with once a month. And choose a sin (starting with mortal sins) to gradually (or not so gradually) reject. Replace it with virtue.
You got this.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization