Twenty-eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 15, 2017
I’m not sure just where this developed, but many of us grow up with, and even hold on to as adults, an image: that at the end of our time God will be standing at the Gates of Heaven with a clip board, adding up the points and making the decision as to whether we will be admitted or not. You know that is not how it happens, right?! God uses an I-Pad, not a clip board.
Seriously, it’s bad theology; it is not an accurate image of how the church understands the Day of Judgment. And it is a terrible way to live life: with the image of a God who is always looking over our shoulder and giving us the “good” or “bad” check-marks. The truth of our understanding of judgment is that when that Day comes, it is not God who makes that decision; we already have.
You see, one of the greatest gifts God gave us was free will. God gave us the freedom to make choices. Some of our choices in life are simple, almost automatic; we make them out of ritual or habit; little thought has to go into it. At other times, circumstances beyond our control place us in the position of making choices we would rather not make or that severely limit our options; we find ourselves between a “rock and a hard place”. Sometimes the choices are easy because the consequences are so drastically different, and other times (my favorite) we get to make a choice between equally wonderful options.
But every day, by those choices, we are choosing to be a part of the Kingdom of God, or not. We choose to feast on the food and wine God offers, or we try to survive on scraps that this world has to offer. We choose to create and live in a culture of life, or we choose to create and live in a culture of darkness. We choose to operate in a kingdom of forgiveness or a kingdom of vengeance, charity or greed. Whether we live in abundance or in humble circumstances, as St. Paul said, it doesn’t matter. We make choices.
What is equally clear, what is also without question, is that we have been invited to be a part of God’s Kingdom, to dwell on that mountain where the hand of God rests. Every person is given that invitation. We don’t earn it by our goodness or kindness. We don’t have to score points or pay a fee or kiss someone’s…cheek. We don’t have to plead or bargain or beg our way in. We have already been invited.
But we do have to make choices. Do you want to be a part of it or not? Because the truth is, when the day comes that we are face-to-face with God, it is not God who judges whether we will live eternally with him or not. We’ve already made that choice.