Today’s Entrance Antiphon anticipates the Joy which will be ours when, following a life of faithfulness to God, we come before Him at our Judgement and hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant….”. Today we consider how God provides us, through the Pope, Bishops and Priests, the Teachings of the Church and the Sacraments, with the means to reach Eternal Life and our fundamental responsibility to make use of these means.
Isaiah compares weather conditions, which nurture growing crops, with God’s Word, which stimulates our spiritual growth. Of course, just as crops cannot grow and flourish without the farmer’s efforts in conjunction with the weather so, to attain Eternal Happiness, we must ‘take on board’ and act upon God’s Truth, aided by His Grace.
The Responsorial Psalm might be read as a ‘companion piece’ to the Gospel, talking lyrically of God the Creator’s limitless Love which provides for us in this life, seeks our willing response, and, so, brings us to live forever in Eternal Joy once our time on Earth is over.
A major stumbling block for some could be the growing materialism and declining moral standards of the world, so clearly in opposition to our Creator. Satan, knowing as he does that God will, in the end, triumph over evil, nevertheless does not give up tempting souls to join him. Temptations will only cease when we enter Eternity.
Of course, Good Shepherd that He is, God does not cease to love, watch over and call each and every one of us to Himself until the day we die. Those who drift away may, please God, in time, return to the practice of their Faith. It is an act of Charity (certainly not judgmental) to pray for the return of our lapsed Brothers and Sisters, sometimes nicknamed ‘resting Catholics’. It is exceedingly unwise, however, to gamble one’s Eternity by putting off a return to the Church on the basis that ‘God won’t let me be lost’. Saint Augustine reminds us that God created us without our co-operation but makes our Salvation totally dependent upon that co-operation throughout our life. God knows (but we can rarely be certain) when we shall die and come before Him, but to love Him and go to Heaven is a choice He will not force upon us. Love must come freely from our heart in return for His Love, as we meditated more deeply in June.
Christ’s parable, of course, ends on a ‘high-note’; countless souls will hear, be inspired and live by the Church’s Teachings, thereby coming, as planned, to be happy with God forever in Heaven, the “…glory…which is waiting for us”, as Saint Paul writes.
From St. Bart's
Thoughts on the traditional teachings, devotions, seasons and matters of the Catholic Church