Blessed John Henry Newman

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2016/04/09 at 12:00 AM


Blessed John Henry Newman, the great 19th century English convert and preacher, once wrote that: “Life is short, death is certain, and the world to come is everlasting.”
And because of these three simple truths, Blessed John, as well as all the saints throughout history, have encouraged us to spend our earthly lives preparing for Heaven. That’s really the primary message of our readings today, i.e., that we must be prepared to meet our Lord.
Coming from the same chapter of the Gospel of Luke, our Gospel today follows upon last Sunday’s Gospel quite well.
Last Sunday’s Gospel reminded us of the dangers of being attached to the things of this world, while this Sunday’s Gospel encourages us to store up riches in Heaven so that we might be well prepared for meeting our Lord.
Like last Sunday, today’s Gospel reminds us of the necessity of preparing for the afterlife, but this Sunday we are also told that our Lord has certain expectations of us based upon the natural gifts, talents, and graces He has given us in this life.
Yet even though our Gospel speaks of judgment and punishment and the expectations our Lord has of us, there is great hope expressed in our readings as well. Specifically our readings call us to live with faith in God’s goodness.
Living in this way: conscious that we will one day face judgment for our earthly lives, yet hopeful in God’s mercy and in His desire to save us from our sins, is at the heart of the Christian understanding of God and of how our relationship with Him should be ordered.
Specifically, our Catholic faith teaches us that there is a certain balance to be struck in the way we approach our Lord and relate to Him. Having a properly ordered relationship with God now while we live on earth prepares us to meet Him face to face in eternity.
By faith we know that God is our loving Creator, Who has endowed each of us with certain blessings and talents that He expects us to use in a way that glorifies Him. In short, our Lord expects a certain return on His investment in us.
Moreover, our Lord gives each person every grace necessary to be saved, and He implants within our hearts an understanding of His laws – of what is truly right and wrong – so that we may live according to His commandments. This is why God has certain expectations of us.
Yet while there is a certain fear that is appropriate in our relationship with God, our Lord also encourages us to trust in Him and in His promise of mercy.
As Jesus says to His disciples today: “Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdom.”
Look at the tenderness of our Lord’s words to us! In these words we can see that God wants to save us, and that He wants us to have faith in His desire to save us!
My dear brothers and sisters, our God is a mighty God to be sure, One Who is all-powerful and all-knowing. He is the Creator and Ruler of all things. Nothing exists or remains in existence without Him.
And yet despite His ineffable greatness, He remains a personal God – One we can come to know. He is a God of love, a God of mercy. He is a God Who suffers both with and for His people. He is a Good Shepherd Who sees us as His flock.
And it’s for these reasons most of all that we should have faith in His power and desire to save us from our sins. Indeed, faith in God must be the foundation of our relationship with
Him. It is a properly formed faith that rightly orders our relationship with God – helping us

to both love and fear Him – and thus preparing us to meet Him.

The first reading from the Book of Wisdom speaks of the faith the ancient Israelites had intheir covenant with God. The Israelites knew that they were God’s chosen people and that
He would save them from their foes.

Certainly our Lord did just that when He delivered them from the slavery of the Egyptiansand eventually led them into the Promised Land.
Yet let us remember that our Lord did not lead the Israelites directly to the Promised Landafter freeing them from the cruel slavery of Egypt. Because of their lack of faith that led
them into sin, they had to wander in the desert for 40 years.

But once their faith was purified and strong, our Lord once again did mighty deeds in themidst, and the Israelites were allowed to enter into the Promised Land, the great
foreshadowing of our hope of entering Heaven.

The passage from the Letter to the Hebrews describes for us the essence of faith and its linkto our hope for salvation, as we see so perfectly lived out by Abraham.
Abraham’s faith was tested in incredible ways by our Lord, yet he nevertheless was obedientto all that the Lord bid him to do, confident in the promises the Lord made to him.
Ultimately, our readings today call us to examine what we believe about God and whether ornot we are living our lives according to our beliefs. Ultimately our readings call us to
examine our faith in the Lord.

My dear brothers and sisters, do you believe that our Lord in Heaven wants to save you fromyour sins that you might enjoy eternal life? Do you believe that He loves you and is giving
you every grace you need to be saved?

Do you believe as well that He will be our judge, and that one day we will have to make anaccount for both the good and the evil we have committed in this life?
If so, then be sure to live your life in a way that is consistent with this belief! “Gird yourloins and light your lamps, and be like servants who await their master’s return from a
wedding, ready to open immediately when He comes and knocks.”

Remember: “Life is short, death is certain, and the world to come is everlasting.” And while our Lord is faithful to His promise of mercy for those who fear Him, once we have died, we must be ready to face His judgment.
Therefore, let us draw near to His altar, knowing full well that we are sinners who mustn’t presume upon our own merits, but who are confident, nonetheless, in His great compassion and mercy.
Let us turn to our God and call upon His mercy, displaying to Him our wounds, seeking from Him forgiveness for our sins and failures, and hastening to Him for divine protection.
And let us do this all with an unwavering faith, a faith like that of Abraham, that we may indeed be those faithful and prudent stewards who are ready for their Master’s return.

11 August 2013

© Reverend Timothy Reid

Fr. Reid is the pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, Charlotte, NC

Homilies from June 17, 2012 onward have audio.
To enable the audio, lease go directly to Fr. Reid’s homily homilies and select the matching date.

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