“Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth – Heirs of Eternal Life in Heaven,” SUNDAY GOSPEL REFLECTION 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by Fr. Serge Santos OFM

God in his mercy and compassion is calling everyone to be ready when he calls us to see him face to face. We must be always ready to face our judgment. We don’t know the day nor the hour when we will be called from this life.

But we have control about the state of relationship with God when death comes. “We cannot avoid a sudden death, but we can avoid an unprepared death.” With the aid of God’s grace we can ensure that our relationship is more or less ok. We can strive always to live in peace with God. This does not mean that we must be always on our knees praying to God and that we take no interest in the things and joys of this world. Far from it. God wants us to use the things of this world, but to use them so that they will not hinder us on our journey ‘as strangers and pilgrims’ on earth.

Today we can ask ourselves: “How would I fare if I were called to render an account of stewardship tonight?” If I find there are many things I need to put right before I face my judge Jesus Christ, I will start promptly to put them right. I will not dilly-dally. I may or may not get a second warning or chance. I value my eternal happiness, so I will put my books in order. I will make peace with Jesus Christ and my neighbors. Acknowledging His grace and compassion, I will be creative and wise to trek the right road to eternal life in heaven.

“When the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) took our human nature, he made us capable of becoming sharers in the eternal glory and happiness of the Infinite God.” We can not fathom that God raised us up to the status of adopted children. “He (God) had no need of us, he did not require our company or adoration, he is infinitely perfect and happy in himself.”

God gave us the gift of incarnation. Jesus Christ became our brother and through him we became adopted children of God and therefore heirs to heaven. “The sins of mankind which had corrupted the world brought about the death of Christ on the cross – a death he freely accepted.” “Christ’s offering himself on the cross was sufficient to obtain eternal sanctification for all humankind. Christ’s one act of self-sacrifice on the cross is sufficient for all time. It need not be repeated. Through that death and as our representative and senior brother, he made perfect atonement to God the Father for all our sins. His triumph over sin and death was our triumph; ever since his ascension, the incarnate Son of God is in the seat of glory in heaven interceding for us sinners; he is preparing a place for us, his brothers (and sisters), which will be ours when life on this earth ends.”

“The members of the Chosen People who did God’s will earned heaven through the merits of Christ and only after ascension. Because of God’s loving generosity these infinite merits of Christ were applied to all Jews and Gentiles, who, before Christ, lived according to their lights. They will be applied to all provided they act according to the revealed or the natural knowledge of God which is given them.”

We can resolve to be good and holy in the light of Christ. With God’s grace we will do in our power and creativity to pursue this resolution until we finish the race to eternal life. Not all of us would avail of this bounteous divine mercy but those who believe in and acknowledge and accept the merciful plan of God would certainly receive an eternal reward.

Knowing all these facts and truths, it is just right to offer God endless gratitude and thanks. I believe that God will let us live long enough to earn eternity. For those who are worried about their weaknesses, temptations and trials, are reminded that they are not left orphans…they are not on their own, they are not left to fend for themselves…they have Jesus Christ as brother, in heaven pleading with the Father of mercies on their behalf. We cannot lose our inheritance provided we do our very best to be true and loyal Christians. Being grateful we can gladly cooperate with God to earn the eternal merit already won by Christ.

Pilgrims and Strangers on Earth, we are Heirs to Eternal Life in Heaven. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

(Reference: The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan OFM)

About Fr. Serge and his reflections…..