26th Sunday (Children’s Mass)
26th Sunday (Children’s Mass)
God has a sense of humor! This is what I thought – and said – when I began to speak at our parish revival night last week. I had never even been to a revival before coming here, and now I’m a revivalist! God is good, so it went well.
People told me afterwards that it hit home with them, so I thought some of what I said might be helpful for you, too.
With all that is going in our world that can bring us down, I thought that a talk on heaven would revive us and lift up our hearts. I spent quite a bit of time on Romans 8:18
“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.”
Many of you are suffering now in this present time – with physical pain, family problems, death of a loved one, evil in the world, etc. Some days, it’s really, really bad. Please remember that this was St. Paul’s situation. He suffered a ton for Christ. And yet, he wrote that the suffering is “nothing” compared to the glory that is coming.
He’s talking about heaven! The good involved with heaven is much bigger than the bad involved with suffering in this world. I reminded the congregation what Revelation 21 says, that in heaven “there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain” (v. 4). In heaven, it is all good! When the Church talks about the “greater good,” this is to what Romans 8:18 is referring. God allows suffering to bring about a greater good. Ultimately, the greater good is heaven!
So, when you are given a share in the cross of Christ and experience suffering like He did, be assured of the glory of Heaven that will be so much greater than the suffering is bad.
Getting to heaven is what it’s all about! The #1 job of any spouse in marriage is to get the other to heaven. From that, of course, means getting the kids to heaven. Is your spouse going to heaven? Are your kids? You should be praying and offering (small) sacrifices every day for their salvation. The second part is commonly known as “offering it up.”
It means to offer up your suffering for the salvation of others. We Catholics believe in redemptive suffering which means that we can join in the redemptive work of Christ by offering up our share in the Cross for the salvation of others.
He offered his suffering for the salvation of the world. God the Father allowed the Son to suffer in order to bring about a greater good (salvation). He wasn’t punishing Christ for anything he had done. He wasn’t angry with him. He actually has infinite love for His Son, and trusted that he could handle the cross.
For anyone who carries their own cross in union with the Cross of Christ, the same is true. God is not punishing you! In fact, your suffering is a sign of God’s love for you. And, He trusts that you can handle offering up your suffering for the salvation of another (perhaps your spouse and kids).
May you know the peace of Christ,
Mary / Assumption
from Deacon Gregory
One of the new happenings at Assumption that I forgot to mention in last week’s
bulletin is the young adult group. We had our first social event a couple weeks ago,
and then our first Bible study last week. What a great group! They are good, fun, and
smart people. At Bible study, we discussed today’s readings for over an hour. They
had tremendous insights and questions about the themes of the readings: death,
judgement, and life after death. I think we’re all really excited about this group!
Every November, as we come to the end of the liturgical year, the Church gives us
readings that focus on the end of time (“eschaton”). The adult group didn’t think that
we are in the end times, but lamented that there are many who do think that. Jesus
says in today’s Gospel that He doesn’t even know when the end will be!
Regarding what we will face when we die, the Church teaches of two judgments: 1) a
particular judgment, and 2) a general judgment. The first is when we each die…when
our “time is up”. The second is the end of the world… when time itself ends.
These two judgments are summed up pretty well by
Particular: “As Catholics, we believe that when a person dies, the soul separates from
the body. He then stands before God in judgment. Remember that the soul is really
‘who’ we are: while the body lies in death, our soul– who we are– lives on and returns
to the Lord for judgment. The Catechism clearly teaches, ‘Each man receives his
eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular
judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of Heaven–
through purification or immediately, – or immediate and everlasting damnation’
Let’s dissect this teaching: When we die, our soul stands in judgment immediately.
We will have to account for our lives, for the good that we have done and for the sins
we have committed. We call this the particular judgment because it is particular to
General: At the end of time, our Lord will come again to judge the living and the
dead… Here again the Catechism teaches, ‘In the presence of Christ, who is Truth
itself, the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last
Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done
or failed to do during his earthly life’ (#1039). Here is a judgment not only of the
individual standing alone, but also as a member of society and before the whole
community of mankind. Those who have already died and have been judged will
remain in Heaven or Hell; those who have not died will now be judged and enter
Heaven or Hell.
…Whether we consider the particular judgment or the final judgment, we must be
ready to face judgment. Archbishop Fulton Sheen stated, ‘For when the curtain
goes down on the last day, and we respond to the curtain call of judgment, we will not
be asked what part we played, but how well we played the part that was assigned to
us’ (Moods and Truths, 75).
Finally, a solid answer to the question that some have as to why there can be a general
judgment and a particular judgment, is given at www.catholic.com:
“The purpose of the general judgment is not to re-determine one’s standing with God
but to reveal the full ramifications of all our good and bad deeds in relation to other
people. Although we will know instantly all the good and the bad we have done at our
particular judgment, only at the general judgment will we see what effect the way we
lived had on others and thus truly understand the ultimate significance of our moral
–Sincerely in Christ,
Last Wednesday’s Gospel (Lk 9:1-6) at Mass was so fitting for the Holy Father’s full day in D.C. That is the passage where the Lord tells the Apostles to “take nothing for the journey” but the authority and power he gives them. Pope Francis’s universal popularity is based, in large part, to his simplicity and poverty, and that he takes hardly anything for the journey. The simple, little Fiat car he used was a huge hit with people everywhere in our country! He hasn’t brought much materially to the United States but has brought the power and authority of Jesus Christ.
In my opinion, the key word surrounding the excitement and power of his visit is authority. People universally and inherently acknowledge the authority of the office of the Pope. That is why it’s completely exciting when any pope visits the U.S.! The authority of the pope is, of course, the authority of Jesus Christ. It is the authority of heaven. That is the authority that people respect. And, it is the authority with which he spoke to the Congress. As important as the offices of our congressmen, congresswomen, and senators are, the office of the pope dwarfs them. His unique presence at the podium of the Congress and heavenly perspective clearly showed that. It was a sight to behold for all American Catholics!
–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg
Fr. Greg Shaffer
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