Summary: In this life we tend to focus on things which have no weight in eternity. This homily expresses the need for personal responsibility.
Tonight’s thought is something that has been increasingly becoming somewhat of an obsession for me as a priest. I have been struck with the feeling that there is something coming very soon which we will all be affected with. My personal feelings have been running the gamut of sadness, anger, hope, joy, yet they are coupled with a deeply unsettled feeling. My mind, through it all, has been reflecting upon the state of the Body of Christ and what we will present before our Lord and Savior at the end of days. I will share with you what my thoughts have been and if they ring true for you too that’s a-ok and if not, that’s fine too. I simply feel the earnest need to share my heart with you all. You all know that I tend to speak my mind fearlessly and this thought will be no different.
I have been reflecting upon several childhood memories in my life that I acted appropriately and others which I have acted inappropriately. Most of these memories stem from a perspective of a priest that has experienced much in my own ministry. Many of you who read this were a part of my life from the very beginning and will understand where I am coming from. Others will simply give the computer screen a puzzled expression and that’s ok too. As I look back I feel ashamed of some things in my past and feel proud for others that I did the right thing, yet all these things will be compared to Christ’s matchless glory and will be in His hands alone to judge. In contrast, I have also been thinking more about home. Not this earthly and transient abode, but our eternal and spiritual one. Thoughts of dutifully performing tasks for my Lord in the New Kingdom and existing in a place that is without sin or pretense fill my mind.
At the end of our life what will we present as an offering for the tremendous love and grace that has been poured into our hearts as Christians before our Lord? That thought crosses my mind more often than I care to admit. Constantly being aware of one’s own actions and fighting the fleshly desire to “do your own thing” seem to be at the heart of many of my thoughts and those of St. Paul’s in his epistles. The flesh which fights against the spirit and vice versa is a running theme for him as it should be for every Christian who is conscious of the Great Day before the Judgment Seat. I think we all too often fall into one of two categories in our Christian walk. One side is the idea of “anything goes” as long as you add a sprinkle of grace to the concept and water it with some flowery words on non-judgment, while the other side seems to say that nothing goes due to a need to deny the flesh and dive into the realm of asceticism which judges everything harshly.
At the end of age, what do you feel will be required of us? What do you expect that Christ will assess within your own life and mine that would warrant our entrance into the Kingdom? We all know, as Christians, that there is nothing we can do to earn our way into the Kingdom of God for it was a free will sacrifice of God’s own Son that brings us into right relationship with the Father. Yet, I believe that we all too often forget the great example of Christ and the Apostles as they “turned the world upside down.” Grace was given at the cross for our redemption and we are bought with a price for all eternity. Nothing can separate us from the love of God and His grace unless we sever that tie within our own self and turn our back on the Lord who bought us with nothing less than the price of His own precious blood. I am going to borrow something of St. Paul’s at this point:
1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.