Last Sunday of Pentecost
-Sunday November 25th, 2012-
The Last Judgment
Today is the last Sunday of the liturgical year. Next Sunday we will begin a new liturgical cycle with the first Sunday of Advent.
It is most fitting then that Holy Mother Church should give us today this gospel of the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world.
Christ is the central figure of human history, indeed, He is the central figure of the whole universe, He is the Beginning and the end of all things. By Him, with Him and in Him all honor and glory are given to the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost. So, to end the liturgical year focusing on Christ is but logical.
Christ will return as we recite in the Creed quite often: “He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” This is a dogma of faith. This is a fact. Moreover, we read in today’s Gospel that He will do so with much power and majesty.
So, today is a day of hope, at least for the Catholic Church and those who strive to lead a serious spiritual life, because we are reassured that after all our tribulations and sufferings Christ will come again and will be victorious forever over his enemies. This is a most consoling thought.
***** ****** *******
Now, this brings us to another subject, that of our own particular judgment, that is to say, the judgment we are going to undergo when we die.
In this sense, this Sunday could not only be a day of hope for some but also a day of fear and reflection for others.
A day of fear and reflection for those who need to amend their lives to come back to the friendship of God; for those who are in the state of mortal sin, i.e., for those without the virtue of charity, lest they should go to hell.
Also a day of fear and reflection for those who are lacking in the love of God and their neighbor to a greater or lesser extent, lest they should go to purgatory.
This means that, presupposing the virtue of Faith, at the end of our lives we shall be judged according to how much we have loved (Saint John of the Cross). The measure of our judgment will be our charity, both toward God and our neighbor. If we are found without charity we will go to hell. If our charity is weak and lukewarm we will go to purgatory. If our charity imitates the charity of the saints, who had a heroic and consistent charity, we will go straight to heaven.
It is important here to remember that this charity or true supernatural love, in practice, is only proven by good works. St. Gregory the Great says that the proof of love is found in the display or exhibition of good works. St. Paul said the same thing before when he says that we shouldn’t love only with words but with works.
******* ********* ***********
Let us ask Our Lady for the grace to reflect upon our particular judgment which will come sooner or later and to build up a treasure in heaven, a treasure of good works and of true supernatural love towards God and our neighbor, that at the end of our lives we find Christ not as our severe Judge but as our sweet Savior.