St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

The thought of the afterlife…

The thought of the afterlife…                                                             -Homily November 22, 2015

 

The short version of my message for today would be this: “Do not envy those who commit sin because they seem to have a good life: they will be condemned for ever. Do not be discouraged if you have to suffer for doing good: your reward will have no limits in Heaven.” Those who want to fall asleep may now do so, since you have already heard the essentials of the whole homily.

 

Jokes apart, it is now more important than ever to remember the essentials of our faith. Salvation and condemnation are not a joke, nor an artful or clever device to keep people in the Church. Jesus was born to save us from hell and give us salvation: he came to offer forgiveness, he died for our sins. He was born for our salvation, he preached many times about salvation, he died for our salvation, and he rose again historically from the dead and ascended into heaven as the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (those who have died). He is today here among us, in this church: loving you, watching at you, listening to my words… and hopefully not falling asleep.

 

It is difficult to be a good Catholic. It is very easy to sin, and very easy to be an easy Catholic… It is difficult to ask for forgiveness in Confession, to follow the doctrine of the Church about marriage and contraception, to stand for our faith, to be always just, not to gossip, etc. Sometimes we may find it difficult to come to mass, or even to have faith. Yes, but this way, the difficult way, is the only way to go to heaven. It is the way of the Cross: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done” (Mt 16:24-27).

 

It is the narrow gate that leads to salvation: “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Mt 7:13-14).

 

In a homily of the second century, a century of persecutions and martyrdom, we find these words: “There are times when we are unconscious of the sins we commit because our hearts are fickle, lacking in faith. Futile desires becloud our minds. We need to pull ourselves up, therefore, because our very salvation is at stake. Those who keep God’s commandments will have reason to rejoice. For a short time in this world they may have to suffer, but they will rise again and their reward will endure for ever. No one who holds God in reverence should grieve over the hardships of this present time, for a time of blessedness awaits him. He will live again in heaven in the company of all those who have gone before him; for all eternity he will rejoice, never to know sorrow again.

 

“So do not be disturbed at the sight of wicked men possessing great wealth while the servants of God suffer want. We, my brothers and sisters, must have faith. Competing as we are in the arena of the living God, we are receiving the training in this present life that will make us worthy to be crowned in the life to come. No honest man becomes rich overnight; he has to wait for the reward of his labors.”

 

“Be not afraid when one becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him. Though, while he lives, he counts himself happy, and though a man gets praise when he does well for himself, he will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never more see the light” (Psalm 48:16-19).

 

“Fret not yourself because of the wicked, be not envious of wrongdoers! For they will soon fade like the grass, and wither like the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so you will dwell in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your vindication as the light, and your right as the noonday” (Psalm 37:1-6).

 

I think it is very important to remember these things because of the difficulties we find in trying to be good Christians. To be a Christian is difficult, but it is easier than going to eternal punishment. Those who are evil seem to have a good life, but besides what they really suffer, that life fades away and dies; instead our reward in Heaven is far better, and never ends. “The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom 8:18).

 

Someone may say: “but to work for the reward is selfish.” It is not selfish when the reward is the very person you love. Remember that heaven is to enjoy God, and it is God himself who wants us to love him and enjoy his presence for ever. Other may say: “The life of a Christian is too difficult.” The truth is this: everybody in this world has to suffer, but the happiest possible life is the life of a Christian. Because a Christian not only enjoys the things of life as a blessing from God the Father; he or she can also enjoy a kind of freedom and power that the world does not know. When you suffer with hope, when you keep faith and keep doing good no matter what, you show in your life how great a human being can be with the grace of God, you become a hero. And it must feel very good to be a hero… Remember St. John Paul II in his old age: he looked weak and suffering, but at the same time he had a power to move people and to make them happy that nobody could understand.

 

I want to encourage you to keep up the good work, to keep coming to Church and trying to be good Christians and good Catholics. Let us not fall into the temptation of the easy way: those who take it do not have it easy and suffer more. Let us be the heroes God wants us to be, let us bring into our hearts the happiness that God is offering to us, the salvation that Jesus came to bring.  –Fr. Andrew

 

 

 

Pic Mobert First Nation

 

School Wish List—New or Used

Sports equipment: hockey sticks, soft baseballs, dodgeballs, volleyballs, basketballs, skipping

ropes and hoola hoops, tennis rackets, balls and net, road hockey equipment,  badminton rackets, birdies and net, sleds/crazy carpets/saucers, indoor shoes, skates, winter boots and coats.

 

Non-perishable snacks,  plastic utensils, lunch containers, lunch bags, packsacks, hygiene products, toothpaste, tooth brushes, deodorant, Always regular pads.

 

 

Just a reminder that all gifts need to be delivered to St. Michael’s Church or Parish Centre by Monday, November 30th.

 

Note that the sooner you can bring your items the better, as there is much packing to do!