Do you love God? It’s the most basic, important question anyone will ever ask you, and you will ever answer. Many of us reply too quickly and easily, “Of course I do!” This Sunday Jesus shines a bright light on what loving Him really means: “If you love me, you’ll keep my commandments,” (John 14:15-21).
This message is important.
This is important because many think heaven is a given. Many think all that’s required is being nice. Many think “a loving God could never send someone to hell,” without realizing hell is something many freely choose (and are choosing).
Many think they can pick and choose what to believe. Or when to believe it. Like going down the highway and thinking the lines plainly drawn need not be followed, many think the path to heaven is something we can define.
No. The path to heaven is Someone who defines us. And each of us are given the freedom to reject our truest definition in Him.
And most tragically, many leaders, in the name of Jesus Christ and His Church, time and again fail to communicate the path to heaven. With fidelity. With clarity. With persistence. With intent for transformation. Particularly in the most controversial regards.
This merits shouting.
Let me ask: If you were a fireman eating breakfast in your home one morning, and happened to glance across the street and note your neighbors, blissfully doing the same, while the upper floors were being engulfed in flames, how silent and impassive would you be? Would you return to your paper, shrugging it off because calling any attention is “not loving?” Would you remain quiet because “it’s none of my business.”
With mortal sin we are talking about being engulfed in flames. We are talking about people not being saved. Forever. Because of us.We don’t like to think of this, but if God has called and equipped us to be instruments of His salvation (He has), not doing so will result in others not being saved! Our neglect is a serious sin of omission.
To clarify the path to heaven is an act of love.
To alert someone who is off the path is an act of love.
It’s Time to Talk.
It can no longer be said “the church is always talking sin and hell.” Look around. Read the paper. Turn on the TV. While sin is undeniably the story line, it is not recognized for what it is: separation from God, self and others. A prison. Alienation. Crashing into the berm on the highway. Brokenness.
Sin is an absence of what we were created for: real, enduring intimacy.
And to the many leaders who think talking “sin and hell” is what keeps people from church, look around. Note the dramatic decline in church attendance. Note that such decline is directly proportionate to the decline in acknowledgement of sin.
If we don’t know our sin, we don’t need to know our Savior. Why bother? The absence of talking sin is today’s epic “Sound of Silence.”
Absence of talking sin and hell (the corollaries to faith and heaven), is not love any more than is the fireman’s neglect in telling his neighbors their house is on fire. It may be cowardice. It may be fear. It may be misguided. It may be laziness. It is not love.
If all this were not true, so important, so urgent in the heart of God, why would He send His Blessed Mother to us at Fatima (and so many other places), warning us that hell is real, that many go there, that the bar is high, and that we all need deeper, ongoing conversion?
The Shape of Love.
As an act of love, we need to constantly consider the path to eternal life, the shape of love– the entire reason God came to save us in Jesus Christ!
A mortal sin is a gravely wrong act that can lead to damnation if not absolved before death.
The three requirements for mortal sin (CCC, 1859):
- 1) Its subject matter must be grave (or serious).
- 2) It must be committed with full knowledge (and awareness) of the sinful action and the gravity of the offense.
- 3) It must be committed with deliberate and complete consent.
If we love Jesus, we need to keep His commandment and heed the words at the end of mass: “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” How many of us are intentionally doing this? If not, we ought to seriously question whether or not we’ve really gotten it. Are we aware of our sin, and how we’re saved and being saved?
If we’re not actively, intentionally, joyfully, enthusiastically, naturally evangelizing, chances are we have not yet been evangelized. Chances are our eyes have not yet been opened to who we really are, who God is in Jesus Christ, and the epic reality of our nature and purpose here “on earth as it is in heaven.”
If that’s you, open wide the gates. Recognize your sin so you can all the more recognize your Savior. Tune in to our IGNITE Radio Live this Tuesday (8p) on Annunciation Radio. We’re going there. Listen to some of our podcasts, because this is our passion. (GO)
For those aware of our identity and mission in Jesus Christ.
Let’s start with family and friends who constitute the 75% missing in action on any given Sunday. Yes, convey that God is the supply of their deepest desire for intimacy, which means, yes, their separation from this intimacy is grave. (CCC, 2181) It is a mortal sin. They’re in a burning building. They need to be saved. God wants to save them. God deeply desires intimacy with them. God desires to flood them with His Presence.
Love impels us know and communicate actions which constitute grave matter, a few of the most common of which are:
- Pornography (CCC, 2354)
- Masturbation (CCC, 2396)
- All extra-marital sexual activity (CCC, 2396)
- Perjury – promise without intent of keeping (CCC, 2152)
- Sacrilege – profaning anything sacred (CCC, 2120)
- Schism – acting against church teaching (CCC, 2089)
- Contraception – (Humanae Vitae, no. 19)
The Good News.
In Jesus Christ we can be forgiven, healed and transformed. (Rom. 12:1-2) Go to Confession. Be reconciled. Be contrite. Make the commitment. Return to new life in the Holy Spirit.
We’re all yearning for more than another program. Another event. Another moment. We’re yearning to be united in a transforming way of life in Jesus Christ.
We’re yearning to live our purpose and mission on this planet. In our marriages. Our homes. Our parishes. Overflowing to the world. We can’t do it by ourselves. We need ever greater and newer outpouring.
God’s promised: “I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already ablaze,” (Luke 12:49) (Catholic Exchange Article). If you’re in the Northwest Ohio area, join us for our Praying With Fire Conference, Sunday, June 4, 4-9:30pm. Go to MassImpact.us/FIRE (use discount code: “25FIRE”).
EASY EVANGELIZATION: Just share this. Right now. Set aside fear. Step into it. It could make an eternal difference.
image: By Auteur byzantin du Xe siècle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons