33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Psalm 16, 5, 8-11
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
November 15, 2015
Once again we draw to a close of another year. The year 2015 draws to a close in a month and a half but before then, in just two weeks, we end our liturgical year and begin another one with Advent.
So, again just like every other year, our readings shift to the end times. We use the end of the year as a time to think about the end of this world as we know it.
Our readings speak of the end times as a time unsurpassed in distress. Jesus speaks of tribulation and how the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. The angels will be sent out to gather the elect. Those not found among the elect with face an everlasting horror and disgrace in Hell.
We don’t want to think about everlasting horror and disgrace or a time unsurpassed in distress.
We might feel like we live in a time unsurpassed in distress. All you have to do is to look at the many terrible things going on in the world. Just Friday we had the violence in Paris with shootings and bombs. We might feel like that was far away but there were Americans there and at least one American dead among the 139 dead and hundreds injured. We see violence in our own streets. What are we to do? We can work to become the best Catholics we can and then help others to know Christ also to prepare for Christ’s coming.
When we think of the ‘end time’, we might often think of judgment, Jesus separating the good and the bad. The good (the elect in today’s gospel) will indeed be separated from the bad. The good will be taken up to the heavenly kingdom while the bad will be sent to everlasting horror and disgrace in Hell.
Some people ask if God ever really sends anyone to Hell. I firmly believe that God does not want anyone to be in Hell. Look at all God has done. There was the flood with Noah but not all were destroyed and God promised to never send such a great flood again. God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt and gave us the commandments to know how to live. God sent numerous prophets to help the people understand their failings and to call for repentance. When that was not enough, God sent his only Son, not to condemn the world but to save it. Jesus gave his life for us. God does everything possible to save us.
God does not want anyone to end up in Hell.
God gives us numerous warnings (like in today’s readings). God will forgive us countless times if we keep coming to him when we fall into sin but we must repent.
There is no limit to God’s mercy but we have to turn our hearts to God with a desire to change. We cannot just keep saying ‘God will just have to forgive me.’
Will God keep forgiving us? Of course! But we have to make a real effort to change.
Think of it this way. How do you feel when someone does something bad towards you, says they’re sorry, but then keeps doing the same bad thing to you over and over. They know you will forgive them (and we should) so they don’t bother to make any effort to change. They just presume you will always forgive them. How does that make you feel? Do you feel taken advantage of? Do you feel like they don’t really care about you? Do you wonder if they have any desire to change? Are you hurt by them?
Now ask yourself if you ever do the same thing to God. Do you keep doing the same sin over and over and just say ‘it is no big deal, God will forgive me’? I’m not talking about when we try to change here, just when we don’t want to bother.
God wants to forgive us. We can come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as many times as we need. God knows we are weak. God knows that even when we desire to change, we can fall short and God will forgive us but we must have the desire to change.
Let us pray that God help us to have a repentant heart and a firm desire to change so that one day we can be with Him in Heaven.