RSS

Tag Archives: judgment

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 20:1-4.11-21:2)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 20:1-4.11-21:2)

Last Week of the Year, Cycle II, Friday)

I, John, saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain. He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not deceive the nations again until a thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.

Then I saw some thrones, and I saw those who are given the power to be judges take their seats on them. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God’s word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not have the brand-mark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of judgment was opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged.

The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. The burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband.

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 3:1-6; 14-22)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING (APOCALYPSE 3:1-6; 14-22)

WILL YOUR NAMES, TOO, BE BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE? (Apc3:5b)

Week 33 of the Year, Cycle II, Tuesday

If one of you opens the door, I will come in to share his meal.

I, John, heard the Lord saying to me: “Write to the angel of the church in Sardis and say, ‘Here is the message of the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: I know all about you: how you are reputed to be alive and yet are dead. Wake up; revive what little you have left: it is dying fast. So far I have failed to notice anything in the way you live that my God could possibly call perfect, and yet do you remember how eager you were when you first heard the message? Hold on to that.

Repent. If you do not wake up, I shall come to you like a thief, without telling you at what hour to expect me. There are a few in Sardis, it is true, who have kept their robes from being dirtied, and they are fit to come with me, dressed in white. Those who prove victorious will be dressed, like these, in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.’

” Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea and say, ‘Here is the message of the Amen, the faithful, the true witness, the ultimate source of God’s creation: I know all about you: how you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were one or the other, but since you are neither, but only lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth. You say to yourself, “I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want,” never realising that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see. I am the one who reproves and disciplines all those he loves: so repent in real earnest. Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears my calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on his throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ST MICHAEL, ARCHANGEL, SPECIAL CONSOLER AT THE HOUR OF DEATH

“Not only during this earthly life does the glorious Archangel Michael defend and protect souls, but he is their special advocate and consoler at the hour of death.

When the last earthly hour draws near…

When the last hour of our earthly pilgrimage draws near and we are confronted by that awful moment when our soul must leave the body, which it has loved so much, satanic hosts, like ravenous lions, will make a last attack upon us. But we need not fear if during this life we have been faithful in venerating St Michael and in imploring his aid for the hour of death.

In that hour of supreme need, this invincible Archangel, ever ready to assist the faithful soul, will come to our aid with his hosts and do battle on our behalf. He will cover us with his strong shield and lead us safely through the midst of our enemies.

And when at length our souls have been freed from their earthly bonds…

And when at length our souls have been freed from their earthly bonds, he will conduct us to the judgment seat of Christ, where he will undertake our defence and implore the forgiveness of our sins. Finally, if we have merited to be numbered among the elect, he will take us beneath his glorious banner and conduct us to the blessed home of light, where all the Angels and elect children of God glory in the eternal praise of their Creator.

It is therefore a commendable practice daily to invoke St Michael to lend his assistance at the critical hour of death. Many are the faithful clients of St Michael who have experienced his help in that hour.”

– From: ‘Neath St Michael’s Shield

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WE ARE ONLY ON LOAN TO OURSELVES – AT ALL TIMES WE REMAIN GOD’S PROPERTY

We are not our own

“We all are familiar with the concept of stewardship, of responsibility of another’s property which may be entrusted to our care. The manager of a chain store is the steward of the corporation which owns the store. The corporation’s board of directors are the stewards of the stockholders. A banker is the steward of his depositors and a pastor of his parishioners.

The obligation of a steward is to administer wisely the property which is entrusted to his care. He must guard it vigilantly, use it prudently and keep always in mind the best interests of the owner.

There are few of us who do not find ourselves in a position of stewardship

There are few of us who do not find ourselves in a position of stewardship, at least some times and at least in some small matters. It is to our credit that most of us do discharge conscientiously our duties of stewardship. There are frauds and embezzlements, true enough. But it is only because such betrayals of trust are exceptional that they rate newspaper headlines.

Our obligations of stewardship to God

We understand clearly and take seriously the obligations of stewardship as far as our neighbour is concerned. It seems somewhat surprising, therefore, that we pay so little heed to our duties of stewardship as far as God is concerned.

We acknowledge readily enough our indebtedness to God for all that we are and have. We never would question for a moment the fact that we owe to God our existence, our religious faith, our physical and mental endowments and all that is good and desirable in our lives. We are decently grateful to God, and pray that He will continue to bless us with His loving care.

Too few of us, however, develop a functioning realisation of our stewardship to God. Freely admitting all that He has done for us, we still do not operate on the recognised premise that we belong to God, in ourselves and in all that we are and have.

We shall be called upon to give God an account

We are not our own. We remain God’s absolute property. We are only on loan to ourselves. When we finally face God in judgment, it will not be to give an account of our gift. Usage has hallowed that expression, but strictly speaking there have been no gifts, only investments. In judgment we shall be called upon to give God an account of the dividends, in love and service, which His investments have garnered in our hands.

The unawareness of our role of stewardship shows itself in a hundred ways. For example, we often say (or think) ‘I owe it to myself to do this’, when the real basis of our decision should be, ‘I owe it to God to do this.’ Similarly we ponder, ‘How much can I afford to spend?’ or, ‘How much can I afford to give?’ when a more precise question would be, ‘How much of His money would God want me to shell out here?’ A still better question would be, ‘How much of His money would God want me to spend on myself while others lack enough to eat?’

Much of the loose writing and talking that is done concerning sex, in and out of marriage, stems from the forgetfulness of God’s ownership rights. The power of procreation has been entrusted to us by God to be used for His purposes. He has not abandoned His dominion over that power. The recommendations of sociologists, physiologists, physicians and psychologists can be valid only to the extent that they recognise God’s proprietary rights.

The power of procreation has been entrusted to us by God to be used for His purposes

God certainly wills the enhancement of His property. To put it more conventionally, God certainly wills the good of His beloved creature, man. But it is the good as God sees it and the good which God wants, which must be sought.

The development of a sense of stewardship will make our lives more fruitful

The development of a sense of stewardship will make our lives more meaningful, more fruitful. Almost always we are more careful with the property of another than we are with our own. If we see ourselves, our possessions, our health, our time and our talents as really belonging to God, there will be much less waste and misuse than when we see ourselves as the absolute master of our assets and resources.

It will make quite a difference, too, in our final accounting.”

– Fr Leo J. Trese, One Step Enough, 1966

 

Tags: , , , , ,

TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 13:24-43)

LET THEM BOTH GROW TILL THE HARVEST.

Jesus put another parable before the crowds, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well.

The owner’s servants went to him and said, ‘Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?’ ‘Some enemy has done this,’ he answered. And the servants said, ‘Do you want us to go and weed it out?’

But he said, ‘No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn.’”

He put another parable before them, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the biggest shrub of all and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and shelter in its branches.”

He told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.”

In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfil the prophecy:

I will speak to you in parables
and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world.

Then, leaving the crowds, he went to the house; and his disciples came to him and said, “Explain the parable about the darnel in the field to us.” He said in reply, “The sower of the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world; the good seed is the subjects of the kingdom; the darnel, the subjects of the evil one; the enemy who sowed them, the devil; the harvest is the end of the world, the reapers are the angels. Well then, just as the darnel is gathered up and burnt in the fire, so it will be at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that provoke offences and all who do evil, and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Listen, anyone who has ears!”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“SPARSELY POPULATED OR NOT, HELL REMAINS A REALITY FOR ANYONE WHO VALUES HIMSELF ABOVE GOD”

“Men die only once, and after this comes judgment” (Heb 9:27)
* * * * * *

“Some day this world of ours will come to an end. What plans God may have in mind for other planets in the universe we do not know. We only know that there will come a time when the human race will have run its course; a time when this particular phase of God’s over-all plan has been completed.

THE SECOND COMING

When the world ends there will be a general judgment. This will be the second coming of our Lord Jesus. He who was man’s Redeemer now will be man’s judge. It will be His prerogative to unfold, to all souls who ever have lived, God’s master plan for the human race and the contribution (or the resistance) which each of us has given to that plan.

GOD’S MASTER PLAN

The world’s end and the accompanying general judgment are events which, to most of us, are of speculative rather than practical interest. Of more immediate concern are the twin facts that the world will end for us individually at the moment of our own death; and that the real determination of our fate will be in our own particular judgment.

WE SHALL SEE THE NAKED REALITY WHICH IS ‘I’

We do not know just what form the particular judgment will take. Many theologians are of the opinion that each of us will be his own judge. In the instant that we shed our mortal body, we also shall shed all the limitations, all the handicaps under which our intelligence has laboured. All the rationalisations and self-deceptions by which we have glossed over our sins and absolved ourselves of responsibility, will evaporate. For the first time, stripped of all subterfuge, we shall see the naked reality which is ‘I’.

THE SHADOWLESS LIGHT OF AFTER-DEATH

But there is a positive side to the picture. We also shall see for the first time all the hidden elements which have been factors in our behaviour, all the subconscious influences which often have coloured our judgments and have left us less free than we thought. Some of our sins may show up larger than we have estimated them, but other sins may show up, under the shadowless light of after-death, as much more excusable than we had suspected.

ONLY TWO READINGS ON THE SCALE

There will be no need of a special pronouncement from God to tell us where the balance lies. We can read the scale plainly for ourselves.

There are only two readings on the scale. Death has found me and forever fixed me either in an attitude of love toward God, or in an attitude of rejection toward Him. Either I have been committed, however imperfectly, to the doing of God’s will, or I have repudiated His will in favour of my own. Whichever has been my choice in life, I cannot change it now. I have made my own future and I must live that future forever.

I HAVE MADE MY OWN FUTURE

If, in that moment of absolute truth which follows after death, I am able to say, ‘My God, I love You!’ then I am home. It matters little if there first must be a process of cleansing to purify my soul for union with the all-holy God. I am HOME, that is the important thing. My hunger for God will make all delay painful, but it will be a joyful pain. If not immediately, at least quickly I shall know the breathless ecstasy of God’s embrace.

THAT MOMENT OF ABSOLUTE TRUTH

If death discovers me void of love for God [love of own will etc.], then I have separated myself from God forever. There is no way of kindling that spark of love beyond the grave. I have chosen for myself the awful loneliness of an eternity without God and my self-love is bitter in my mouth. I have chosen hell.

THIS IS A POINT TO REMEMBER

This is a point to remember – that hell is not a vindictive punishment imposed by an angry God. Hell is the loveless state freely chosen (and it can only be FREELY chosen) by the individual himself. It is not a fate which one can incur by accident or in an unguarded moment of weakness.

There probably are many sinners whom we humans would judge to be deserving of hell who nevertheless escape that destiny because of ignorance, malformed personality or some other cause which has lessened their personal culpability. Beneath their lamentable behaviour, God may find some flicker of love for Himself. If there is anyone who looks for extenuating circumstances, it certainly is God.

Sparsely populated or not, hell remains a reality for anyone who values himself above God. But it is not to be feared by anyone who honestly can say, ‘My God, I do love You!'”
– Fr Leo J. Trese, 1966

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

THE SALVATION HISTORY OF ALL MANKIND AS REVEALED IN THE BIBLE: JESUS FORETELLS THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM

THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM AND THE END OF THE WORLD

“In great sorrow Jesus brought His public preaching to a close with a solemn warning of destruction to Jerusalem. Then He sat down opposite the Temple treasury and watched the people offering their gifts to the Temple. He observed the splendid gifts of the rich. But he also observed a poor widow putting in two mites, a small sum, but all she had to live on. He called this to the attention of His disciples.

‘Amen I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who have been putting money into the treasury. For they have all been putting money in out of their abundance; but she out of her want has put in all that she had – all that she had to live on’ (Mark 12:43-44).

JESUS CHRIST’S OWN PEOPLE WILL REJECT HIM

This little incident is both a solace to Jesus and a lesson to His disciples. Jesus has come from heaven to offer men the precious gift of salvation, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. But the Scribes and the Pharisees have rejected Him. Under their leadership His own people will reject Him and demand His death. Their unwillingness to receive Him shows, on their part, a lack of total dedication to the love of God. When Jesus sees the poor widow giving all that she has to the Temple, His heart rejoices at this example of total love of God. In pointing it out to His disciples He means to tell them once again that it is the spirit which inspires a gift that makes it valuable in the eyes of God. The rich gifts offered by the wealthy were praiseworthy. But since they were only a small part of the abundance of the wealthy, they did not symbolise so well the total gift of one’s self which God demands of every man. But by giving all that she possessed the widow showed in fact that she was totally dedicated to God.

‘THERE WILL NOT BE LEFT ONE STONE UPON ANOTHER’

After this incident Jesus and His disciples remembered His warning of the approaching doom of Jerusalem. They could not help but contrast the beauty and the solidity of the stone walls of the Temple with the sad forecast of the ruin of the Holy City. One of them said to Jesus,

‘Master, look, what wonderful stones and buildings!’ Jesus replied, ‘Dost thou see all these great buildings? There will not be left one stone upon another that will not be thrown down’ (Mark 13:1-2).

Jesus and the band of disciples went then to the Mount of Olives. There the curiosity of the disciples could no longer be restrained. Peter, James, John and Andrew asked Him, ‘Tell us, when are these things to happen, and what will be the sign when all these things will begin to come to pass?’ (Mark 13:4).

DID JESUS MEAN TO CONVEY THAT THE END OF THE WORLD WAS COMING SOON?

In the minds of the disciples there must have been great confusion. They had accepted Jesus as the Messias. Since they were Jews it was natural for them to expect the Messias to bring great glory to the Chosen People and to Jerusalem, the Holy City of God. But Jesus had just told them that Jerusalem would be left desolate and the great Temple, the centre of worship of Jahweh, would be destroyed. Perhaps they thought also that the destruction of the Temple would occur only when the Son of Man (spoken of by the prophet Daniel) came in glory to establish the final Kingdom of God at the end of the world. Of what then could Jesus be speaking? Did He mean that the end of the world was coming soon and that then His own glory would be manifested to all men?

WOULD THE GLORY OF THE SON OF MAN BE MANIFESTED TO ALL MEN SHORTLY?

Jesus, in replying to their question, spoke of both the destruction of Jerusalem and of the end of the world. But He distinguished the two events. They were not to be simultaneous, but rather separated by some interval of time. The destruction of Jerusalem would come during the lifetime of the generation of men who had listened to Jesus Himself. But the end of the world would come later, at a time determined by God the Father. When this time might be was not permitted to men to know. But it would be preceded by signs which would warn the followers of Jesus of its approach.

THE FOLLOWING THINGS TOOK PLACE BEFORE THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM IN THE YEAR 70 A.D.:

As for the destruction of Jerusalem, Jesus first warned His disciples to beware of false Christs, men who would claim to be the Messias. These false Christs would only lead the people astray. There would be wars, and rumours of wars, He told them, pestilences, famine and earthquakes. The He added, ‘And when you see the abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not – let him who reads understand – then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; and let him who is on the housetop not go down and enter to take anything from his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. But woe to those who are with child, or have infants at the breast in those days! But pray that these things may not happen in winter’ (Mark 13:14-18).

All these things took place before the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D. False Messiases arose and led the people into revolt against the authority of Rome. Jerusalem was besieged. Its people suffered from famine and pestilence.

As for the disciples themselves, Jesus told them, ‘But be on your guard. For they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, a witness to them’ (Mark 13:9).

THE APOSTLES WERE NOT TO BE AFRAID

When this persecution came upon the disciples they were not to be afraid. ‘And when they lead you away to deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to speak; but speak whatever is given you in that hour. For it is not you who are speaking, but the Holy Spirit… And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake; but he who perseveres to the end will be saved’ (Mark 13:11-13).

The disciples of Jesus are urged by Him to face persecution without fear. They will be working for God, for ‘the gospel must first be preached to all nations’ (Mark 13:10).

JERUSALEM WAS ENCIRCLED BY VESPASIAN’S AND TITUS’ TROOPS

God Himself, therefore, will speak through them, and if they persevere they will be saved.

That the first Christian community took His warning seriously is proved by the fact that the Christians there fled to Pella just before the encirclement of the city by the troops of Vespasian and Titus.

THE ANGELS WILL GATHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS

The mind of Jesus then turned to the thought of the end of the world. With prophetic insight He foresaw the signs which would precede His coming as the Son of Man in power and majesty to judge the world. ‘Then,’ He said, ‘there will be great tribulation, such as has not been found from the beginning of the world until now, nor will be. And unless those days had been shortened, no living creature would have been saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Then, if anyone say to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you beforehand. If therefore they say to you, ‘Behold, he is in the desert,’ do not go forth; ‘Behold, he is in the inner chambers,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines even to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Wherever the body is, there will the eagles be gathered together. But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven; and then will all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty. And he will send forth his angels with a trumpet and a great sound, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other’ (Matthew 24:21-31).

‘BUT OF THAT DAY OR HOUR NO ONE KNOWS… BUT THE FATHER ONLY’

Before the world comes to an end, then, a number of false Christs will appear, seeking to lead men astray. So powerful will be the forces of evil that even the elect would be led astray except that God will shorten the time so that they may be saved. Just when the end will come Jesus does not say.

‘But of that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only’ (Mark 13:32).

Jesus does not mean that as the Son of God He is Himself ignorant of the day when the world will end. He means that this is knowledge which God the Father does not allow to angels or men, but reserves for God alone. Jesus, as the Son of God, knows the day and the hour, but as the Messias He will not reveal it to men.

OUR LORD JESUS’ COMING WILL BE AS QUICK AND AS SUDDEN AS LIGHTNING

The destruction of Jerusalem, as Jesus foretold it, would not be sudden, its approach would not be unrecognisable. Men would have an opportunity to flee from the city and escape its fate. But the end of the world would come suddenly and men will find no chance to escape.

Neither will they be able to recognise its approach clearly.

‘And as it was in the days of Noe [Noah], even so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noe entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away; even so will the coming of the Son of Man be’ (Matthew 24:37-39). Or, as Jesus had already said, His coming will be as quick as sudden as a bolt of lightning searing the sky from east to west.

‘TAKE HEED, WATCH AND PRAY’

Because of the uncertainty of the time of the end of the world Jesus warns His disciples to be ready at every moment for that final catastrophe. ‘Take heed, watch and pray, for you do not know when the time is’ (Mark 13:33).

In several parables Jesus emphasised the necessity of being prepared for the coming of the Son of Man to judge the world. ‘As a man,’ He said, ‘when he leaves home to journey abroad, puts his servants in charge, to each his work, and gives orders to the porter to keep watch. Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or early in the morning; lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping’ (Mark 13:34-36).

Or again, ‘Watch, therefore, for you do not know at what hour your Lord is to come. But of this be assured, that if the householder had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would certainly have watched, and not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready, because at an hour that you do not expect, the Son of Man will come’ (Matthew 24:42-44).

Or, ‘Who, dost thou think, is the faithful and prudent servant whom his master has set over his household to give them their food in due time? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, shall find doing so. Amen I say to you, he will set him over all his goods. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master delays his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day he does not expect, and in an hour he does not know, and will cut him asunder and make him share the lot of the hypocrites. There will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth’ (Matthew 24:45-51).

THE WISE AND THE FOOLISH VIRGINS

Lastly Jesus made the same point in the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins. Ten virgins went out joyfully to attend a wedding. They carried lamps to light their way. Five were wise and carried also some vessels of oil to replenish their lamps if it became necessary. But five were foolish and carried no extra supply. The coming of the bridegroom was delayed. The virgins fell asleep. When the bridegroom came they arose and prepared to attend the marriage feast. But the lamps of the foolish virgins had gone out and so they were late in arriving at the feast. The door was shut. The bridegroom, not knowing them, refused to let them in.

…TO MEET JUDGMENT UNAFRAID

In all these parables Jesus was emphasising the point that His disciples should be prepared always to meet judgment at the hands of the Son of Man. ‘Watch, then, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man’ (Luke 21:36).

No man may know when the end of the world will be. But all men must be prepared to meet it at any moment. They must watch and pray so that they meet judgment unafraid.

‘HE WILL COME AGAIN IN GLORY TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD’

This thought of the end of the world and of the second coming of the Son of Man is followed quite naturally in the discourse of Jesus by a description of the judgment of men at the end of time. ‘But when the Son of Man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory and before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the just will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and feed thee; or thirsty, and give thee drink? And when did we see thee sick, or in prison, and come to thee?’ And answering the king will say to them, ‘Amen I say to you, as long as you did it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left hand, ‘Depart from me, accursed ones, into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you did not give me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take me in; naked, and you did not clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Amen I say to you, as long as you did not do it for one of these least ones, you did not do it for me.’ And these will go into everlasting punishment, but the just into everlasting life’ (Matthew 25:31-46).

THE JUDGMENT WILL BE BASED ON THE LAW OF UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

As the Son of Man, the apocalyptic figure spoken of by the prophet Daniel, Jesus will come at the end of the world to judge all men. His judgment will be based on the law of love which He so often preached to men. Those who have loved their fellowmen enough to aid them in their need will be given eternal life with God. Those who have not followed this law of love will be punished eternally in the fire of hell prepared for the devil and his angels. At the moment of judgment the secret of all history will be revealed.

THE SECRET OF ALL HISTORY WILL BE REVEALED

Jesus does not tell us the full nature of this secret. But He tells us enough for us to know that it flows in some mysterious way from the free wills of God, the angels and men. In the transcendent freedom of His will God has loved the universe enough to give it being, existence. And He has given it existence for the sake of His elect, angels and men whom He will gather from every corner of the universe to share His Kingdom with Him. The elect are those who live by the law of love, love of God and love of one another. Their love is the free choice of their own wills, echoing generously the creative act of God’s free decision to make the world. But some angels, and some men, will freely choose not to imitate the divine love; they will refuse to love [unconditionally], and in their refusal they will reject both God and all others. They will be punished by their own refusal; having rejected [unconditional] love, the secret of the universe, they must live forever in the self-corrosion of hate.

TO LOVE ANYONE IS TO LOVE HIM WHO IS THE BROTHER OF ALL

The disciples of Jesus might have wondered that Jesus mentioned only love of men as the basis for the final judgment of all men. Surely, they might have thought, men should be judged on the basis of their love for God. But Jesus had already taught them that it was God’s will that they should love all men as they loved themselves. In so doing they would be loving God Himself.

And in Jesus Himself there is an ever deeper reason why this is true. Jesus is God Himself come to earth, God-made-man. By taking to Himself a human nature, the Son of God has become the neighbour, in fact, the brother of all mankind. By His own free decision He has identified Himself with all men. To love anyone, therefore, is to love Him, Who is the brother of all. And to love Him is to love not just a man but God Himself.”
– Martin J. Healy S.T.D., 1959

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,