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The belief is that at the end of times there will be a judgement; where those who are good will go to heaven and those who are evil to hell. Jesus’ message is very scary – think! – The majority of the people we know are not always good. In the tradition of the Catholic Church if you miss mass you are in mortal sin. Mortal sin means that if you were to die before confession, you will not go to heaven. Imagine that! If you missed mass too many times you could ended up in hell. Revelation is still happening and Jesus is still teaching us, so that we can begin to understand the concept of sin and forgiveness a little bit better.
Although, Jesus is presenting a heaven in a black and white fashion, when it is put into practice the reality becomes another. A man kills his mother and has sex with his sister, and then he dies. Is God going to send him to the fires of hell next to the old lady that missed too many masses? This problem lead Dante to write a book on hell, purgatory and paradise. It was called Dante’s inferno. He believed in the existence of different levels of hell and also of heaven. A saint could not be sitting next to your cousin, she might have been good, but she was definitely not a saint. Although, Dante’s book is awesome and very inspiring, it still did not solve the problem of justice and the concept of the end of times.
There is another interpretation of today’s gospel which I like the most. But in order to understand it, we will need to study it on a deeper level. Jesus is speaking to the crowd in parables because their faith is immature. Even the disciples have questions after Jesus explained the parables. Jesus used the language of a farmer, because the people listening to him were farmers.
When you speak to your child about sex, for example, do you use speak to them like you speak to an adult? When you speak to your friends, do you reveal your inner fears like you do to your therapist? Obviously, there is a difference: what you say to people depends on who is listening and on what you are saying. When a priest is in front of professors and university PHDs, he will use a different language than when he is in front of his Sunday crowd.
In just the same way, GOD speaks to people based on their level of understanding; of preparation and their experience of life. Many of Jesus’ parables need much thought and discernment; there are not black and white as they might seem. Today’s gospel is much deeper than what we hear in a Sunday sermon about heaven and hell. Notice that the disciples were confused: they asked Jesus for an explanation, but instead they got a description of each character present in the parable. He did not explain it.
Look at it again and notice that there is no much difference between the enemy and the devil, the good seed and the children of God. He simplified the parable and described who the characters were, but what it meant was left for them to still pray and discover.
From a simple point of view the parable says those who are good will go to heaven and those who are not will be thrown up into the fire. From a realistic point of view, we know that there are people who are good and bad. Mothers can testify that their children are good, without becoming blind to their bad habits, negativity and even sin. Mothers know quite well that their children are both good and bad. God sees the good and the bad in us as well. St. Paul prayed and asked for stronger faith as he noticed that when he wanted to do good; he ended doing bad. That’s because we all have good and bad inside of our nature. That’s what we call original sin and the tendency to be disobedient to God.
If we then take today’s parable and analyze it we will realize that the field that Jesus is taking about is our nature. God made us good, but our nature is covered with bad habits and tendencies. However, let me advice you not to pull the weed in your nature prematurely as you might destroy the goodness that you have inside.
In other words, you cannot deny your mistakes and your shortcomings. I have known people that cannot accept what they do wrong. Deep down, they are afraid to show who they really are. They are afraid to accept that they are imperfect. Guess what; by not accepting their imperfection … they are at a greater risk of acting out that imperfection. Psychologists will recommend embracing our shadows; to embrace our shortcomings. In other words by accepting our limitations and sins we have a greater chance to overcome them.
Using Jesus’ parable we can say that by pulling the weeds we are at a great risk of losing our good nature. Let the goodness in you grow, and then, like the mustard seed, that goodness will grow so tall that the weeds will no longer be able to survive. When you focus on your goodness, without denying your faults, then and only then will you be able to be whole. At the end of your life, looking back, you will have a great harvest with more goodness than evil.
As we focus on embracing our shadows: recognizing our shortcomings, let us ask God to give us a Spirit of forgiveness and humility: so that we will have the courage to recognize our sins and ask forgiveness from those we have hurt in the past. Many people go to confession without being sorry for their sins. No wonder they continue to make the same mistake over and over again. The trick is to face their evil and to recognize their tendencies to hurt others. Some people love to abuse and shaming their neighbors. A person that says: I know I am shaming my wife, has a greater chance to stop hurting her than he who swears to be the perfect husband. Recognition will eventually force the person to change strategies and look for ways to stop his or her sinful way.
May you be inspired to change your ways and walk in HIS path. Amen.
I would like to announce that I have been chosen to be consecrated bishop. On November 18, 2017 I will be consecrated at 11:00am. In order to be recognized by the Vatican as legit, three bishops will be present. It promises to be a great celebration and the beginning of a new mission. Please pray for me as I get ready for this new step.
Remember that you can listen to some of my sermons in English and Spanish on the webpage: http://archangelschurch.org – look for past sermons.
Fr. Marc Angelo
2851 W. 120th St. Suite E-279, Hawthorne CA 90250
Fr. Marc Angelo
Fr. Marc Angelo and Fr. Jacob are very appreciative of your support and your contribution to Archangels and Seraphim Church: please continue to support us by visiting http://archangelschurch.org/ and making a generous donation. You can also send a check to: 2851 W. 120th St. Suite E-279, Hawthorne, CA 90250. May God multiply your generosity in health and love! Thank you
Mass every Sunday at 5:00pm (Spanish) and 6:00pm (English) at St. Mary’s in Palms 3647 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3914