Three Ways to Gain Heaven
Let’s say, I decided to look up a biography of Pope Francis on the internet. I google “Biography of Pope Francis” and up comes hundreds of websites I can select to read on Pope Francis. I choose one I think will give me good information and start reading. Up pops a window that says “5 easy ways to get rich” or “get rid of your credit problems in 10 steps.” I ignore them. What if a window pops up that says “3 Proven Ways to Gain Heaven after Your Final Judgement?” Wow! Would you look at that? I sure would.
In today’s gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus tells us clearly what he expects of us. Jesus calls us to live out these expectations every day. The biggest obstacle here is how do we do all this? How do we live this gospel every day?
Here are some suggestions to live out Jesus’ commands of service and love because that’s exactly what this gospel reading boils down to, service and love. First, we are called to change the ways we see each and every person we encounter each day. We run into people who we don’t want to be involved with: they look dirty or homeless, they’re going to take our time, and they’re going to ask for money or food. They seem to have mental problems. Jesus calls us to see his face in each person, especially those on the margins, the poor, the sick and the homeless. Jesus comes to us in each person we encounter, whether we like them or not, whether we have time or not. The face of Jesus is not static, his face is never the same; we are called to see with transformed hearts, with love and compassion.
Second, is to look at the end of day and see how we did. Did we treat people with respect and compassion? Did we ignore people or did we smile at them and ask them how their day is going and listen to them? How did we treat the Jesus in each person we met today? And, most importantly: how can we do better tomorrow?
Finally, we ask God’s forgiveness at the end of the day for those times we didn’t treat Jesus as we should. We know that our God is all merciful and is always there to help us. We just need to ask.
Here are a few practical things to we can do:
- Come to Olson Hall on a Saturday morning with your spouse and your kids and volunteer to help the Bread of Angels ministry feed the poor.
- Contact the Orange County Catholic Worker at occatholicworker.org. Their website invites you to come and help the least of our brothers and sisters.
Let us offer our hearts to be transformed so that we can serve and love all of our brothers and sisters today and every day.
Blessings, Dcn. Mike