XXXI- Sunday in Ordinary Time – homily
Saint Louis King of France Parish
Rev. Fr. Carlos Donato, MDiv
Hear, o Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone!
This past week we celebrate two great liturgical feasts. The Solemnity of all the Saints and the Commemoration of all the Faithfull Departed. On the first celebration, we celebrate the citizens of Heaven, the celestial Jerusalem, our heaven mother. On the Second, we remembered and suffrage through our prayers the souls of those who are in purgatory expiating their yet imperfection so they can one day enjoy eternal life.
The Holy Mother Church on the celebration of all the Saints asks us to look up and lift up our hearts to heaven. This solemnity is to remind us that we are not made to ourselves and not to live forever in this world. Even though we are here, our real place of doweling is heaven. Heaven is our final destination.
During the liturgical calendar we celebrate some canonized saints who are model of life for us. Many of them are martyrs or confessors of the faith. They are lay men and women, Religious, widows, husband and wife, priests, bishops and popes. But when we celebrate the all saints day we venerate in only one feast the whole elects in heaven. A great crowd that nobody is able to figure out their number. (Ap.) many of them were seated here, in the pews of this church, and we did not know how close to God they were.
On the other hand, when we look to the commemoration of all the faithful departed. The holy mother Church asks us to remember and have mercy on all departed faithful. On one day and during the whole month of November we remember many of our friends, parents, brothers, sisters, daughter or son, husband or wife, who were already called by God to himself. As much as we wish that they are already in heaven we cannot have a moral certitude of that yet. Therefore, we are called to remember them in our prayers, in this way they can be safe from the torments and penalties of purgatory and finally enjoy heaven.
Since some year had passed from the called “church renovation” movement. Many people start to doubt about the existence of heaven, purgatory, hell and even the existence of God. Many still thinking that those realities were made up by the church to control society. Brethren, I do not want to be close to those people when the just judge stand up to judge the whole word as he had promised in the gospel.
As Catholics, we believe as doctrine divine reviled that there is a heaven where God with his saints and angels are. That it is a reality where joy and happiness will never end. In the Creed of the People of God, Pope St. Paul VI says: “We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in paradise forms the Church of Heaven where in eternal beatitude they see God as He is,(38) and where they also, in different degrees, are associated with the holy angels in the divine rule exercised by Christ in glory, interceding for us and helping our weakness by their brotherly care” (Saint Paul VI, creed of the People of God, June 28, 1968).
We also believe in the purgatory, where the holy souls of our brothers and sisters in Christ who died attached to some kind of sin or with a venial sin are been going to purification of their attachment to sin through the fire of the divine Justice and love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven” (CEC 1030). And it continue: “The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned” (CEC 1031). Through the offering of sacrifices, prayers and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass their time of purification is abbreviate. They cannot help themselves but they can pray for us as we pray for them.
We also believe in hell. Many people have been misunderstandingdivine mercy and making it a justification of have a wrong way of life in sin! Unfortunately, this kind or thoughts is still present in many of our good people and priests. They say why go to confession? It is not necessary. All are welcome!. “Do not worry God is love and you can do everything you want even the most horrendous sin and it is ok. This statement is not true and is dangerous for the salvation of souls.
We must have in mind that God is merciful but he is just. There is not a true justice without mercy and there is not a true mercy without justice. God respect our choices! If we decided to be far from him in this life and we do not repent of it we will also be far away from God in the eternal life as consequence of our own personal choice. About this truth of faith the Catechism says: “We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him forever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.” (CEC 1033). And it continues “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs” (CEC 1035).
Brethren, these three realities of heaven, purgatory and hell are to be taken seriously. We need meditate always about them. The examination of conscience if it is well done makes us conscious of ourselves better persons and friends of Jesus. The readings of today’s mass invites us to listing to God and fear him. I exhort you today to open the ears of your heart to listening to God. To look to his commandments and make a good examination of conscience to realize: how are you leaving your spiritual life? How many times had you spent thinking about the last judgment? How much do you deserve be unite with God forever? Brethren, let us pray for each other but in special way this month let us pray for the souls of our beloved ones. May our prayer unite with the saints in heaven bring to the souls in purgatory the grace to free from their punishment they can as soon as possible contemplate God and be with him and in him from the whole eternity.