Saturday, June 24, 2017

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time - On Judgment Day

"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I place myself in your presence. I have set aside this moment for you so that you can speak to me and I can listen to your words. Speak to my heart! I believe that you are present, with all the graces I need right now, in the current circumstances of my life. I hope in you, Lord, because I know I cannot place my hope in the things of the world. I love you, Lord, and I know how much you love me.

Petition: Lord God, root out all superficiality from my life; help me to realize that my judgment is coming soon.

1. Not Joking Around
We’ve all heard jokes about this doctor or that lawyer who died and went to meet St. Peter in heaven. While they are whimsical and fun, it’s fitting to take time for serious reflection on what this moment will actually be like for each one of us—not just the doctors and lawyers. Today’s Gospel gives us ample material for reflection. Christ tells us that at our judgment everything covered up will be uncovered, every secret whispered will be made known: In brief, everything we have said or done will be brought to light before him. I think this moment of truth is comparable to the time as a boy I spilled red Kool-Aid on the white living room couch. I thought I had escaped due punishment by flipping the cushion over to the opposite side, until I later watched with alarm as my all-knowing and all-cleaning mom went there to tidy up. The moral here is that no smirch or stain will be hidden from Christ on judgment day; everything we have done will bear discussion with him. “What we do belongs to what we are; and what we are is what becomes of us.” (Henry Van Dyke, Ships and Havens, Chapter 2)

2. On Judgment Day
Let’s take a few moments, then, for serious reflection on what will eventually happen to each one of us. At the moment of our death our soul will separate from our body; our body will go to the grave, and our soul will go on to judgment. “It is established that a man dies only once, and afterwards there is a judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The material under discussion at our judgment will be what we have or haven’t done during the time God has allotted for each one of us to live. What we have done for Christ and our brothers and sisters will live on for eternity; what we have done out of egotism will not. As our Lord says to us in today’s Gospel, “Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.”

3. Spe Salvi
In his recent encyclical letter Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict writes, “At the moment of judgment we experience and we absorb the overwhelming power of his love over all the evil in the world and in ourselves” (No. 47). Our judgment will be first and foremost an encounter with the overwhelming love of Christ. He who will judge us has already died for us, so great was his love! We are indeed worth far more to him than mere sparrows. By living out our friendship with Jesus in the today of our lives, we have nothing to fear in the tomorrow of our judgment. “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Dialogue with Christ: “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.” (Requiem aeternam) Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. (Ave, Maria)

Resolution: Today I will say a prayer for the souls in Purgatory.

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