TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year I (August 18, 2019)
Jer 38:4-6, 8-10/Heb 12:1-4/Lk 12:49-53
It is shocking to listen to the words of Jesus in the gospel for this Sunday. His message is not the usual message that He gives which is always about love, forgiveness, charity, etc. It seems that Jesus simply wants us to know the difference between His first coming and His second coming. During His first coming which happened two thousand years ago, He brought the love and forgiveness of God to the world. He taught the world the way to eternal life. He showed mercy and kindness to the weak and the needy.
In the gospel, Jesus tells us that His second coming is totally different from His first coming. He will bring not peace but division because He will come to judge the living and the dead. He will have no compassion and will certainly implement strict divine justice. Those who listened to His teachings and lived it will go to eternal salvation. But those who lived their lives in accordance to their own whims and desires without considering the will of God will go to eternal damnation.
We may question why the sudden change in the attitude of Jesus? It has nothing to do with the attitude of Jesus but rather with the divine justice. While during Jesus’ first coming, He showed divine mercy and forgiveness, in His second coming He will show divine justice. And this is fair and just because Jesus Christ already warned us and has given us chance to be faithful to His teachings. He offered to us God’s salvation and eternal life. If we accept God in our lives and live in accordance with Jesus’ teachings, then we know that we go to eternal life. However, if we do not accept God and instead we do what we want in life, then we know that Jesus cannot bring us to heaven.
We must never forget that God has given us the freedom to choose what we want. We are not anymore like children who do things without much accountability. We are adult and God respects our freedom. We must accept the consequences of our actions. We must be accountable to what we have done. We cannot simply break the divine law and teachings without accepting the result of our immoral actions. God does not punish us. We are the ones who condemn us to eternal damnation when we do not listen to the word of God but instead do what we feel and want to do. We cannot blame God for the consequences of our evil deeds. God has been so generous and patient with us. He has given us sufficient time to understand what is right and wrong. He has given us a lot of opportunities to repent and return to Him with humble heart. But if we do not hearken to His call, we know that we are doomed to hell.
God is love and God wants us to be saved. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to guide us to eternal life. He even sacrificed His only Son on the cross for our sake and for our salvation. The strong words of Jesus simply means a great love of God for us who strongly warns us to act in accordance to His teachings so that we may not go to eternal damnation. We must obey God who speaks to us about Jesus: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.