Reading I: Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
Responsorial: Psalm 84:3, 4, 5-6a and 8a, 11
Gospel: Matthew 13:47-53
Gospel Reflection: Today, Jesus warns us about heaven and hell. He simply and directly tells us that the angels shall separate the wicked from the just and the wicked shall be thrown into hell. Not the type of language we modern people like to hear. We have turned spirituality into a feely-feely touchy-touchy event where God loves us no matter what we do and shall forgive us even if we don't ask forgiveness. Theologians of the liberal school hold that Matthew was writing within his time and such stories are not true. Traditionalists say that Jesus is clearly telling us there is a hell and people go there. Me, I don't know. But I do know that we have free will and having this wonderful gift of free will we are therefore free to refuse to ask forgiveness and free to refuse to love God. If God somehow over rides our freedom and makes us love him, then it is not real freely given love. A quandary for us to ponder. Then there are all the mystics who have seen hell and people falling in to it. Were their visions false? Did they lie?
The mystery of good and evil is too great for us mere mortals. But something tells me Jesus would not have warned against hell so often if it were a mere story to frighten us into obedience. Come to think of it, what kind of God would have to scare his subjects in to submission? On balance, I think I'll believe that Jesus really did warn us against the fires of hell. It seems the best bet!