SGT- Sunday Gospel Thoughts- Fr. Jack Mattimore
Sunday Gospel Thoughts – June 21
Three times in today’s gospel reading, Jesus tells his disciples not to fear. Some say that in the Bible, we are told 365 times not to fear, not to be afraid – once for every day of the year. I am not sure if that’s true, but it is certainly an important message from God to us. Fear can be crippling and leave us enslaved to ways of thinking or acting that are not good. Instead of fear, we ought to be filled with freedom, wanting at all times to do the right thing.
There is one fear, however, that can help us to be free and to make good decisions. Unfortunately, there seem to be many people these days who don’t have this fear, and that’s a dangerous thing. Can you think of what that fear might be?
After this life, which is going to come to an end for each of us at some point, we will live forever. No one gets out of this world alive, and no one will ever get out of where they end up in the next life. Our goal, of course, is to end up in heaven. That’s what God wants. But there is another possibility.
Our God wants more than anything for us to share in God’s divinity forever. God the Father created us to live forever when we were given an immortal soul at the moment of our conception. Jesus, the Eternal Son of the Father became one of us in order to die for us so that original sin would not keep us out of heaven. And the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts to help us live in such a way that we will make it to heaven. God wants us to be in heaven – no doubt about it.
God will not condemn us to hell. God is love. Love always seeks what is good. What we need to remember is that because of free will, one of God’s magnificent gifts to us, each of us, ultimately decides where we end up once this life is over. There are two possibilities.
When we know what God asks of us and disregard it or reject it outright, we run the risk of going to hell. It’s not popular to say that these days, but it’s true. If we live our lives without God, if we reject the ways of God and God’s commandments, if we choose a life of sin, the possibility of going to hell is real.
God doesn’t want that, but it is our choice, and God so loves and respects us, that God will not force us. Instead, no matter what bad we have done or how often we have done it, God stands ready to forgive us. But we cannot wait to get right with God for we do not know when we will be brought before the Lord to give an account of our lives.
– Fr. Jack Mattimore, SJ