Eternal Life Is a Gift, Not a Reward

Rom 4:1-8 / Lk 12:1-7

Just about everyone who ends up reading this homily today has almost certainly been baptized and made some kind of commitment to walking in the Lord’s footsteps. Ideally that should mean that all the parts of our lives are well integrated and in full alignment with one another. So, for example, our conduct in the parish parking lot after mass should match the way of living we prayed about just minutes earlier. Likewise, our conduct of our household, our business practices, and our private lives should be well matched with our faith commitment and the example of Jesus. In a word, our deeds should match our faith words across the board.

But that’s not the way it works with us in reality. For every one of us, there are locked rooms, sometimes full of secrets, sometimes their contents well known to all, but locked in any case, and cut off from the rest of the “house” that is our life. Our goal, as we strive to grow more holy and more whole is to open those rooms, face what’s inside, and realign what’s there to match what’s best in us. It’s a lifelong process, one that in fact will not be finished even when we die. Thus, as we face the Lord after we’ve taken our last breath after a lifetime of labor, we’ll still not be able to say, “I’ve come to claim my reward.” Instead, we’ll know more clearly than ever that the eternal life we’ve always hoped for remains a gift that our Father wants to give us, not because we’ve earned it but because He is good.

Thanks be to our good God!