Pastor's Note  

Jul 22

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." This beautiful image at the end of our gospel this weekend gives us a glimpse into heaven. The saints who reside there radiate a brightness, a warmth that resembles the sun itself. Gathered around the throne of God, they share in the luminous presence of the King of Kings, the true Son of the Father.

Perhaps there really is something spiritual about the nearly universal craving to enjoy a tropical vacation, the screensaver that adorns so many computers as a subtle reminder of the trend to escape to warmer climates for the winter, or the move towards permanent residence in sunny climates. The continual presence of sunshine, the enjoyable experience of one warm day after another may be in fact like a little taste of heaven. In the Gospel, Jesus himself describes eternal bliss using the imagery of sunshine.

 

But heat has its downside too. When it's too intense, it can actually be deadly. Think forest fire. Think desert. Think "the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth." These are not images of the four-star vacations that we want to last for eternity. No. Here Jesus is referring to the hellish habitat of "all who cause others to sin and all evildoers." That's not a trip we want to take. As uncomfortable as it may be, we need to examine ourselves to be sure we're not on board a train that's going in the wrong direction. We need to identify and acknowledge any patterns of sin that may have crept into our lives, and seek God's forgiveness. That will get us back on the right track, enabling us to be counted among "the children of the kingdom."

 

Let's aim for a journey to that kingdom, the one true trip to paradise that lasts for all eternity.