Tag Archives: judgement

On clean and unclean or if you put theft, or avarice, or envy in Heaven you’ll create hell!

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23.

22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Things kick off over ritual washing before eating, and there’s mention of the tradition of washing after returning from the shops because they’d been “contaminated” by the people they’d mixed with.

There are some interesting lessons to be learned from Jesus response.

He doesn’t dispute their distinction between clean and unclean. In fact he accepts it.

Clean and unclean stand for Heaven and hell, being fit for Heaven or fit for hell, creating Heaven or creating hell.

But Jesus has a very different understanding about what makes a person clean or unclean, fit for Heaven or fit for hell.

It’s what’s in your heart that decides whether you’re fit for Heaven or hell and he lists the way-markers on the road to hell which are actually qualities that abound, and apart from the obvious like murder, he includes fornication, adultery, theft, avarice, malice, deceit, envy, indecency, slander, pride, folly.

What happens if you put theft in Heaven? What happens if you put envy in Heaven? Avarice? Malice? Deceit? That’s not Heaven, that’s hell.

You can’t put theft in Heaven because it’ll create hell, no more than you can put envy or avarice, or malice, or any of the qualities listed by Jesus.

Can you see why these qualities are way-markers on the road to hell?

And can you see that it’s what’s in our hearts that determines how God receives us?

We want God to do it all for us but it’s not like that. It’s what’s inside us that determines our future.

He advises:

Do not pay lip service to God. When you pray 🙏, pray from your heart. When you worship, worship from your heart. Otherwise it’s worthless.

Which begs the question: Mass and your heart; what’s the story there? If the worship of God is boring it’s because your heart is not in it!

He further advises:

The commandments and the law of God are more important than human tradition; more important than any human law.

Overall, he’s saying; if you truly loved God, if your heart was really in it, you’d know all this!

Love is the standard by which God will judge us – but it is love of a much higher standard than we realize

Jesus has taught us that there’s a definitive standard – love defined as love of God and love of neighbour – by which we will all be judged.

But don’t be complacent about God’s love… and be careful of presumption…

Because this love is of a much higher standard than most people realize. Remember Jesus’ teaching that his new standard is higher than the old; love your enemies.

Or the widow who put in one small coin. She put in more than all the others although the others put in much bigger amounts… because she gave everything she had.

He’s indicating different levels of love… which correspond to different levels in the next life, in the kingdom of God.

When Jesus speaks about love he really means all-consuming charity, charity that no longer experiences even a hint of self denial. He’s not really thinking about romantic love.

So be careful… sometimes people use Jesus emphasis on love to include stuff that may be contrary to Jesus intentions; may be contrary. Some TV personalities are quite adept at this!

Here’s a good illustration of the inner dynamics of judgement; suppose I’m buying a car. For many it’s an ordinary enough event and few would even relate it to God. But for others it’s far from an everyday event. I could splash out 20,000 or 50,000 or even 80,000. What we do not suspect is that we’ll relive that choice – and every other choice – from within the standard of God’s love at the moment of our judgement; how did I love God and how did I love my neighbour in these choices?

In our judgment we’ll see what we actually did with what we had, and what we could have done – and much of it will be stuff that we don’t even connect with God, stuff that we might call “business” or “the market” or some other name whereby we remove whole areas of our lives from God, as if God could be excluded, but seeing what we could have done, but didn’t do, at this level – in the presence of God – is actually pure punishment.

So while we might think that a man or woman has been successful, that same success may prove their downfall at the moment of their judgement.

The criteria of judgment will always be; how did I love God and love my neighbour in my everyday choices and no area of human life, endeavour or enterprise escapes God’s attention.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus taught that the poor are blessed? Partly, because they avoid this responsibility and thus they avoid this kind of judgement. But that’s only part of the reason.

The bigger part is how success, more often than not, deceives and empowers our small ego lives into choking our need for big life, for God.

But that’s another day’s work!

Death is not always the best possible outcome – but for those who die in God it doesn’t get any better!

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time Mk 5:21-24,35-43

I couldn’t help but notice that they laughed at Jesus.

That hasn’t changed, they laugh at us too because we have faith. We’re ridiculed often.

And when Jesus had made his point no doubt they said, “she wasn’t really dead, we made a mistake!”

These things don’t change.

In last Sunday’s Gospel the disciples fear death by drowning Mk 4:35-41

So Jesus calms the storm, the disciples fear of death disappears to be replaced by “even the wind and the sea obey him”

They’re awestruck – their focus changes from the fear of death to his power over the the storm, over wind and rain…

So what happens next? Where does Jesus lead them?

To the encounter recorded in this Sunday’s Gospel… where Jesus leads his disciples back to confront death in the death of a little girl 👧

The loss of someone close to us always plunges us into grief, dark and heavy grief, horrible.

But who told us that death is the worse possible scenario for the deceased?

Jesus doesn’t fear death, he doesn’t consider it as the worse possible event – in last Sunday’s Gospel he’s asleep, in this Sunday’s Gospel he demonstrates his absolute authority even over death – on the contrary he fears sin, he fears offending his Father. According to Jesus there’s something much worse than death – offending God unto hell.

But for those who die in Christ death is the best possible scenario and anyone who dies in Christ is consumed by love; of which even the greatest human love is a dim – very dim – reflection. They have only one all consuming desire; to stay with God, and the desire to return is non-existent. They’re being totally consumed by loving fulfillment.

The best contemporary example I can give is Mirjana’s experience of Our Lady in Medugorje. It is important to grasp that when Mirjana sees Our Lady it’s not just a visionary experience, rather, Our Lady brings Heaven with her – after all she is of Heaven – and Mirjana is caught up in Heaven. The consequences are illuminating; Mirjana has only one desire, to stay with Our Lady which means to go with Our Lady (death). Mirjana says that when she’s with Our Lady not even the love she has for her daughters would bring her back, and when the experience ends Mirjana collapses into a deep darkness. It takes her weeks to recover… and she really struggles to go back to ordinary life, to ordinary love, to love that’s a very dim reflection of divine love.

It’s all consuming nature is like having a son or daughter in love with someone of whom you do not approve – try getting your point of view through to him or her! It’s all-consuming.

On the other hand those who do not die in Christ long to come back and un-do and re-do so much. This desire at that level, a burning desire incapable of being fulfilled, is more than enough punishment!