• Students are dismissed for Thanksgiving Break on Tuesday, November 26, at 2:05 PM.
• The school’s annual Advent Lessons and Carols will be on December 15, at 7:00 PM. Mark your calendar now. A reception will follow.
• Students are dismissed for Christmas break on December 20, at 12:30 PM. No one may leave early, since that week is also their first semester exams.
• The next Moms’ Prayer Group Meeting will be on Sunday, December 1, at 7:00 PM. All moms are welcome to come and pray!
• Our first Robotics Competition will be on Saturday, December 7.
• Congratulations to Fr. Joachim and our soccer team on their recent victories! Our team is currently undefeated. Our next soccer game is: Monday, November 25, at 2:00 PM, at Lake Forest Sports Park.
• Our first basketball game will be on December 3 (location and time TBD).
Christianity, or better, Christ Himself must appear rather strange to anyone hearing today’s Gospel for the very first time. Christianity is supposed to be a religion of love and mercy. Christ is supposed to be a God of love and mercy. And in just one week we will begin Advent, our immediate preparation for Christmas, when we hear so much about the Christ Child, meek and humble, bringing peace and joy. Yet now we hear that same God telling us of doom and gloom, the last days before the end of the world, death and destruction, with Christ the Son of man coming in majesty and power. “What happened”, one might ask, “to that God Who is supposed to be all loving?”
The fact is, what we are presented with in today’s Gospel is just the flipside, so to speak, of the Christmas story, believe it or not. It’s the very same God and the very same love which motivates Him to do all that He does. No, there is no difference between the two when it comes to God. There is no change in God, no change in His love for man. God is immutable, perfect, all good, pure love. The difference between the Christmas story—a story which brings much joy and peace—and the end of the world’s gloom and doom, is not in Christ, but in man. That is, the God Who is love does not change from a good God to an evil God; what changes is man’s reaction to God’s pure love. In other words, the story about the little Christ Child being born in a manger, and that same Christ coming to judge the living and the dead with all power and might, is about one and the same God. It’s even one and the same story; and it’s a love story—a love story seen from two different perspectives. A 12th century Norbertine spiritual writer once explained it this way: Just as the sun makes the wax melt and the clay harden with one and the same ray, so the same divine will punishes the impious and rewards the just [Adam Scot].
Today’s Gospel account of the final judgment is a story, then, about the power of divine love—a love which can seem somewhat strange to those who do not know Christ.
This divine love, charity, which flows from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that Burning Furnace of Charity, is the most powerful force in the universe—more powerful than any forest fire or tsunami, more powerful than any nuclear blast or earthquake. Strong as death is love, says Sacred Scripture. And when this divine love is accepted into a person’s life, it works wonders for that person, completely changing their outlook on life, their ways of acting, their thoughts, their desires, their words. It levels in the heart of him who accepts it all sin and vice, like a fire which refines a precious metal, leaving the soul purified and strong; and it will ultimately bring the soul immense peace and joy, even while in the midst of afflictions. In short, when God’s love is accepted into the heart of man, we see the loving mercy of that first Christmas morning. Man’s heart, like that manger, becomes full of light and warmth, joy and peace.
Now when that same divine love is not accepted into a heart, when it is rejected by a cold hard heart, when God’s loving mercy is rejected by man, then we become witnesses not of God’s loving mercy, but rather of God’s loving justice. That same divine love which brings such joy when it finds a heart to welcome it, brings divine justice when it meets an obstacle. And this is what we shall see at the end of the world, when the full effects of God’s love are manifested in all: perfect mercy for those who received His love; and perfect justice for those who rejected it. St. Augustine used the analogy of the waters of the Red Sea which cleansed the Israelites who passed through them, but destroyed Pharaoh and the evil Egyptians; the very same waters both cleansed the Israelites but killed the Egyptians (De Cataclysmo). Divine charity and sin cannot exist forever in the same soul: either that charity will wash away the sins in mercy, or, if that mercy is rejected, that same divine charity will cast the soul from its sight, which is exactly what hell is.
I have come to cast fire upon the earth, said our Lord, and how I wish it were already kindled. This fire is His love. And this love can either purify us and unite us to Him, making us one with Him like two candles melted together; or it can destroy us and cause us eternal suffering. It’s up to us. Do we accept this love or reject it?
The effects of even just one heart full of God’s love are immense not only for that person, but for the entire Church and the rest of the world. To those who have, more will be given…, said our Lord. And Fr. Tauler, a famous Dominican and spiritual writer of the 13th century explained it like this: Nothing in the world escapes [those who have charity]…Charity absorbs also all the good which is found in heaven in the saints and angels, the sufferings of the martyrs. It draws into itself all the good in all the creatures of heaven and earth…charity allows nothing to be lost…It is in this way that the measure of overflowing hearts is poured out upon the entire Church. They bring back all to God with an active love, and offer all to the Father of heaven…If we did not have these persons, we would be in a terrible situation. Just think of any one of the saints—for the one thing they all had in common, the one thing that made them saints, was charity.
Think of how many millions of lives were influenced by just one saint, by one heart that accepted God’s love. Someone who truly loves God spreads that divine charity wherever he goes. If you are not happy with the way things are in the Church or in the world, love God a little more each day, and you will do more good than all the hours of complaining and gossiping about the faults of others.
Our God is a God of love; Christianity is a religion of love. Our Lord’s love rules all. To those who accept it, it will bring the peace and joy of an eternal Christmas morning. To those who reject it, it will bring the fires of hell.
Every Mass is like another explosion of divine love. Every Mass is like another beat of our Lord’s Sacred Heart, which pumps forth His love into all the world. May we reap the infinite benefits offered to us at this and every Holy Mass, so as to be inflamed with God’s love, and perfectly united to Him in an eternity of peace and joy. Amen.
• For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
• For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
• For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.