of Christian Joy -Homily September 20, 2015
Today’s readings speak to us about
heaven, about hope in eternal life, but they do not speak about an easy life in
the world. The Lord delivers the prophet, but if he is delivered it is because
he suffers. “I gave my back to those who struck me… [but]
I know that I will not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.” (Isaiah 50:5-9) He is not here yet, he is
near. There is suffering, but there is hope of salvation: salvation in the
future. The psalmist says “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the
living” (Psalm 116) but he also
speaks about all his past tribulations. James (2:14-18) may help us to remember
that life is not easy also because we have to work and do things for our
brothers and sisters who suffer. How many people are now trying to find the way
to sponsor families of refugees! We will be judged for our works of mercy (cf. Mt 25). Jesus gives us the same message:
there is no redemption without cross, there is no salvation without blood (cf. Hebrews 9:12-22). “The Son of man must
undergo great suffering.” Whoever wants to become his follower, must take up
his cross (cf. Mark 8:27-35). We must
suffer for our sins, or for our purification, and there is no way to enter
eternal life if not through many tribulations, as St. Paul says (Act 14:22).
Please do not get me wrong. I am not
saying that Christian life is not a happy life, and even the happiest possible
life, whatever the mass media or Google may say. The joy of a Christian is the
greatest, but its price is also high. What I would like to say today is this: the
thought of heaven and the prospective of eternal life can make our sufferings lighter
and our life very happy. The secret, I think, is to live one day at a time,
always (at every time) with our heart in Heaven.
Every person in this world has to
suffer, no matter what. The secret of life is to suffer only what we are meant
to suffer, our own cross. God does not want us to suffer “like those who have
no hope” (1Tes 4:13). When we try to
escape our own cross, we find another one worse. Because whoever takes up his
or her cross is never alone: Jesus helps us. Jesus did carry the cross alone,
but he will never allow us to carry it alone… unless you disobey God and
abandon him. In that case, you are by yourself, and the cross becomes
unbearable. Do you have a suffering? Pray to God, tell him to deliver you, but
do not disobey him. Resist temptations. God will visit you soon.
St. Paul says that “the sufferings of
this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed
to us” (Rom 8:18). Heaven is so great
and so beautiful that it cannot be described. The best St. Paul could do was to
describe it by negations: “No eye has ever seen, no ear ever heard, nor has it
entered a human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1Co 2:9). The best St. John, the
beloved, could say, was also with a negation: “we are God's children now; it
does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall
be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1Jn 3:2). We shall be like God! Not because we will be lost in an
infinite nothingness (as some people say), but because we will see God as he
is… Heaven cannot be described because God cannot be described. If anyone has
ever felt that his heart was about to explode for joy, he still is miles away
from understanding what Heaven is. And remember that in heaven we will have our
So, when we suffer, when we are
worried for so many things that we have to do, let us remember that this life
is not eternal, that this day may be the last. Live every hour as if it were
the last. The day of our death will be a day in which we had many things to do.
The day of our death is not different from today. It will be a day in which we
will be afraid of future days of sufferings. It will be a day in which we will
be worried about expiring dates and future commitments. It will be a day, just
a regular day, in which we actually have to do only one thing, and suffer only
one thing. The one thing to do is what God wants us to do now. The one thing to
suffer is our cross for the day. And that is all that matters, that is all we
have. If we live the right way now, we can begin now to enjoy the certainty of
being one day with God for ever. I think that this is the secret of life, this
is the secret of freedom and of Christian joy: God will never give me more than
I can stand, God will always give me all that I need for today. Tomorrow, if it
comes, will be the same. Hakuna matata! Live
one day at a time, with your heart in Heaven. God loves us now, and we will be
with him forever. His love endures forever! (cf. Psalm 118).
May God give us the wisdom of life,
which is to love him above all things. Whoever loves God always does the right
thing, and takes care of his neighbour. Whoever loves God is looking forward to
seeing him. May God give us the joy that comes from his heart.
May God give us the joy that the world cannot give.
May his beloved Mother intercede for us. –Fr.
Fall Courses at Sacred
Heart of Peterborough!
Heart is once again offering a wide range of university level and certificate
courses starting this September.
new courses are “Religion, the Environment & Climate Change” offered
before Christmas and “Religion and Violence” offered in the New Year.
Other topics for both terms include Canadian History, Moral Theology, Old
Testament Literature, and the Ethics of Leadership.
well, the Certificate Program in Religion and Theology continues on the
evening of October 1st with “Laudato
Si: The Theology of Climate Change”.
visit www.shofp.ca or phone 705-745-5549 for more information on fees, dates