First Sunday of Advent, Year B Mark 13,33-37

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To encourage believers that losing leads to gain.

Nowadays, it is not at all familiar to talk about dying, about loss, or even about the fact that life is not meant to be loved. They talk about the joy of life, the love of life. But in every era, one dies, loses, and encounters failures, and diseases. And not only that. We are also all put into situations where we must lose something to gain something else.

In today’s Gospel, we heard the essential characteristic of Jesus’ reason for existence: loss as a way to gain. “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will save it for eternal life” (Jn 12, 25).

According to St. John, Jesus’ words from today’s Gospel sound sad. Lord Jesus is preparing for his death and he is also prepping his disciples for it. It is strange that instead of the disciples pleasing Jesus, he is pleasing them. He explains to them why he must die. If a grain is sown in the ground and dies, a sprout will grow from inside it, breaking through the soil into the open space. The grain receives moisture and light and rises higher and higher. It’s nothing sad, after all, when several stalks grow from one grain, which bears ears, and each ear contains several grain grains. That’s a reason to be happy. But not deep underground in the roots of each new plant lies a decayed grain of wheat that has died so that new life can grow from it. We say to ourselves: if such a grain could decide whether it wanted to die, and in the end, it chose its death, for what other reason would it do so, if not for the love of what is to come? If it thought selfishly of itself, it would lie in the cold and dry, all hard and intact, and, perhaps, eventually come out. When it dies, this image of a grain of wheat bearing fruit applies to every person, but in context it is a fundamental statement about Jesus’ attitude. It can be said that it was the content of Jesus’ entire life. He did not selfishly want to keep himself, but he was ready to sacrifice his life. It shows us under what conditions one can obtain true life. The answer sounds meaningless: The one who “loves his life,” that is, who wants to keep it under all circumstances and cannot detach himself from himself, will lose it. He will not find his own fulfilled life. On the other hand, he who “hates his life in this world,” which is constantly threatened by death, i.e., does not regard it as the highest value he would like to preserve at all costs, will gain it. Surrendering life is genuinely, the price of life, according to these words. Life is lived by self-giving and the ability to give oneself up. This was the law of Jesus’ life, and everyone who embarks with him on a life-long journey of service, meaning the sacrifice of life will have a share in his life.

Many times, we are put in a situation where we have to lose something. Children who come to school give up their freedom and freedom, carefreeness because responsibilities and worries begin. Why all this? To learn to write, read, and count. They always lose something as they go through elementary school, middle school, and college. Something lower is lost for something higher. Although they don’t realize it right away, they later realize that it is necessary. A similar situation exists when a young man decides to get married and loses all others because of that one beloved. It’s the same with a girl. And what a mother must sacrifice for herself, her comfort, strength, and health for her children. We all know it well. A loss to someone else is never a loss.
We tend to ask: What’s in it for me? What will it bring me? What benefits will I get from it? Is it even worth it? We are often disgusted by everything. The Lord Jesus answers these and similar questions when he tells us: “Losing for God (directly or through our neighbor)” is the surest way to live a fulfilled life here, a life that bears fruit. Jesus’ life does not revolve around its own axis. He not only spoke but also acted. He could not be served, but served; he did not ask but gave; taught that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). From this we see that the fulfillment of his life was the sovereign good. He clearly prioritized the love of God and neighbor over the love of his life. With this, he showed us the way, and not only that. By being the God-man, he passed through death to resurrection and opened the door for us all. It gives meaning to our life, to every suffering, pain, and death. Christ destroyed death and opened the way to God for us. From senseless human loss, which is often a large part of our life – such as the loss of health, strength, and finally life itself, Jesus made a supreme path that leads to fulfillment and life with God. A person who accepts the words about the grain of wheat and “hates” life in this world wholeheartedly becomes a person freed from fear and, moreover, a person whose life bears fruit.
We can be convinced that losing has meaning daily when we observe people who could give up something freely, with faith, and with joy. Something of yourself, something of yourself. We see happiness and serenity on their faces, unlike those who were focused only on themselves and their comfort. They are sullen, unhappy, and feel empty.
We are experiencing a time of fasting, a time of renunciation, a time of loss. Do not fear, brothers and sisters, the loss of all that hinders us from following the path to our Lord and Master. Let’s go with him along the Way of the Cross to Golgotha. We know it’s worth it. Therefore, let’s use the time of holy confession and prepare ourselves for the coming of the resurrected Christ.

Missionary Torey shows us that to lose with God and for God is to gain. who writes about it in his theological book when he worked and preached the gospel in Calcutta, India.
After the sermon, a college student, a university student, came to him and said to him: “I believe what you preach about the Lord Jesus because it is clear and beautiful. But I don’t know if I should be baptized.” The missionary asks: “How should I understand this?” The young man answers: “I study law at the university. My father is a very rich man in South India and I am the sole heir. If I got baptized, he wouldn’t give me a penny more for my studies, I wouldn’t be able to finish my studies, I wouldn’t be able to work as a lawyer or anything else because I am a member of the Brahmin caste, and finally my father would disinherit me, and I would become a beggar forever . Tell me, spiritual father, what should I do?” And the missionary says to him: “Consider, but carefully and deeply consider, which is more: to be a free son of the Heavenly Father, or to be a slave of material goods in this world?” The young man knelt, he put his head in his hands and thought. He thought for a long time. Finally, he stood up and said: “I have decided to be baptized.” And they agreed on the date and hour of the baptism. He also wrote to his father when he would be baptized. The father came to see if the ceremony would be performed, and when it was done, after the baptism, he said to his son: “At this moment you have lost everything, you cease to be my son and heir, and you will not receive a penny from me.” And the son calmly said: “At this point, I’ve gained everything. I have become the son and heir of the Heavenly Father and I am filled with immense happiness.”

The incident we just heard wants to show us that wealth and material possessions are unimportant. Something else is more important. The young man understood it correctly, because even though he lost his father and all his inheritance, he gained much more. What he got made him extremely happy because he got the sonship of God.
Let us also ask the almighty God to be able to accept trials in which we will have to take the loss of someone or something.

Lord Jesus, we know that loss with you and for you is never a loss but a path that will lead us to the kingdom of God.
To encourage parents and foster parents to be vigilant about the child entrusted to them.

You will agree that Advent arouses feelings and hopes full of joy for the approaching Feast of the Nativity of the Lord. However, Advent means the future. Something is ahead of us and we want to be ready for it. That’s why we have to be vigilant. We know that sometimes it is difficult, but at the same time, it is joyful when it comes to a person who is reborn today in the baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit.

On today’s first Advent Sunday, Lord Jesus tells us directly and concretely: “Watch” (Mk 13:33).

In the original meaning, “vigilant” is one who spends the night in an open area. In the midst of the sounds of the night, but also the one who does not slumber, does not sleep, does not lie around, but fulfills his duties towards God and human society every day. Everyone is in their place, where they are at the moment, and at the same time, they have in mind the Lord with whom they are supposed to meet.
But staying awake does not mean standing in convulsive tension in front of something terrifying, nor does it mean remaining inactive. In this parable, Jesus tells us about the Lord of the house who is long gone. And since he has been gone for a long time, the tenants feel at home. The Master of the house will not even think of them. They don’t even want to believe that he is and that he could come. Today’s people also sometimes feel the same way. He does not believe in God as the Lord of this house – the world. He thinks that he won’t be accountable to anyone one day. Advent helps us to strengthen ourselves in the hope of the coming of the Lord. Since man here on earth cannot calculate the time of his arrival, vigilance is doubly necessary. So let’s all be vigilant without distinction.
Dear ones, Advent has a dual nature. It is the time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Son of God when we celebrate his coming to people, and at the same time it is the time when we turn our thoughts to the expectation of the second coming of Christ at the end of the ages.
Dear parents, you, too have been eagerly awaiting the birth of your son. A new life was born from your love. You gave him earthly life. Now, you have come to this temple together with your godparents and with the entire parish community to ensure in the sacrament of baptism a new birth for a life that does not end with physical death. Let’s try to think together now about what baptism is. Baptism is a sacrament that is the basis of the entire Christian life, the entrance gate to life in the spirit, as well as the gate that opens access to other sacraments. Through baptism, this child will be freed from sin in a moment and reborn as a child of God, will become a member of Christ, will be integrated into the Church, and will receive participation in its mission. So it follows from all this that baptism is the sacrament of rebirth through water in the word.
Baptism washes away original sin. This is not a personal sin of the child. According to the biblical image of original sin, this means that your child was born into sinful humanity. This child will also have a tendency – a temptation to do bad things. He will have to watch over that temptation and fight against it. Baptismal rebirth is a sign that Christ has triumphed over him and over death, and all of us who are here, when we watch over temptation and fight against it, will win over it and over death. A baptized person, including your child, will experience difficult moments, worries, anxieties, sin, illness, and death in his life like any other person. But the baptized person is never alone. The Christian knows that God is watching over him, who protects him and who accompanies him with his paternal favor. During baptism ceremonies, the priest does not address the baptized child, but you, the parents, and godparents. You will not say the confession of faith for the infant, but you, the parents and godparents, confess your faith, consent to the child being baptized, and at the same time take the commitment that you will watch over this child of God growing up as a true Catholic Christian.
In a little while we will welcome a new member into Christ’s mysterious body of the Church, which we are all looking forward to. We are all obligated to protect and watch over this child of God. The Lord Jesus clearly told us in today’s Gospel: “And what I say to you, I say to all, watch” (Mk 13:37). This vigil applies first of all to you, parents and godparents, but last but not least to all of us. We must all watch that this child is protected from anything hindering, we meeting the Heavenly Father.

A mother and her two little girls were in a shelter during the war. In the beginning, the little girls were brave. But when the bombs started falling, fear took hold of them. And they started crying. The mother said to them: “But, children, what kind of heathen fear do you have?” The children immediately stopped crying. Mother had already explained to them that through baptism we became God’s children and that God knows about and watches over us. He will never leave us. Therefore, we must not be afraid like the heathen who do not know God and are dependent on themselves. We are sons and daughters of God.

This short story shows us how much it is necessary to explain the truths of faith to children like this mother. Because when we explain things to them correctly, children will be happy to be God’s children and will be alert to anything hindering them from following the Lord Jesus.

Let us now promise together to the Heavenly Father that we adults want to cooperate with baptismal grace, and at the same time, we will watch over that this grace is protected and can develop in this newly baptized child.
Adopt the criteria of happiness and implement them in personal and social life.

Don’t you also feel that joy is disappearing from our surroundings? When was the last time we laughed with gusto? What can we laugh at? What is the content of pleasure?
I know a person who cracks jokes, but is not ambiguous or offensive. He has a policy of first telling a joke to God. Yes, to God. And because he is a Catholic Christian, he has a conscience; he approaches the sacraments, he will never tell people a joke that would offend God. He knows how to make people laugh and entertain, and often to his address. That is why he is a sought-after companion, popular, and exemplary Catholic Christian. He is a faithful witness of God.

Apostle St. John of St. He writes to John the Baptist: “He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that through him all may believe.” (Jn 1:7)

John the Baptist is presented as a witness. What do we first imagine when we hear the word “witness”? He is a direct participant who is touched by a thing or an event that has meaning and impactsand on life for him and others. Being a witness is often very important and necessary. A witness can change things events and give them a different stamp with his testimony. A witness can be an unpleasant matter for someone and a benefit, an enrichment for another.
John the Baptist is truly an integral witness of the historical advent. He clearly answers that he is neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor a prophet, although Jesus said of him that he is the greatest prophet: “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen a greater one than John the Baptist.” ( Mt 11,11) What is the greatness and significance of John the Baptist as a witness? He bore witness to the light. He presented Jesus to the crowd as the expected Messiah. He proved with his life that what he says is true. He lives as he preaches, what he draws attention to, and challenges all who come to him. He asks: “Make the way for the Lord” (Jn 1:23) and he is happy because he is fulfilling the will of God. John the Baptist is full of God. The baptism of repentance helps recognize the one,  already in the crowd, but people cannot recognize him because of sin. John the Baptist’s humility towards Jesus gives him joy in his heart, for which he does not hesitate to die in Herod’s prison.

The liturgy of the third Sunday of Advent allows you to use a pink robe instead of a purple one, at St. the organ and other musical instruments can be used in the mass. The joy of the approaching feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus should stand out. Today’s readings challenge us. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah: “I rejoice in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God.” (Is 61:10). In the responsorial psalm, the Virgin Mary rejoices and rejoices with the words: “My soul praises the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God.” (Lk 1:46) In the second reading of St. Paul says: “Brothers, rejoice always.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16) These are calls to realize the importance of our testimony. A faithful witness of the birth of the Lord, Jesus proves with his life his relationship to God, to his neighbor, to himself  , to all things and values ​​of soul and body.
But where are these witnesses? What does happiness and joy consist of? We see less and less happy, satisfied and smiling people around us. Why? Someone remarked that there are more and more advantages comfort, but less happiness and joy in our homes. People look for joy and happiness where they cannot be found. The true values ​​of happiness and joy do not lie in wealth. They often have fat accounts, luxury cars, villas, and simultaneouslyand, and you can see they are sad, unhappy… The proverb says: “Without wealth, much is missing from happiness, and wealth is even more harmful to happiness.” The fact that someone is rich, famous, that he has position power, that may not make him happy. It is enough to take a closer look at the lives of these people, and we will find that they were abandoned, that many ended tragically, and that they were sad and unhappy people.
Where to find true happiness and joy? Believing in God and living with God gives a Christian what nothing and no one can give him and cannot take away. A Christian knows how to enjoy and rejoice not only when he is young, but also in his old age. Pain, illness, time of trial, and failure will not take away the Christian’s joy, because he has hope, assurance, guarantee from Jesus. A Christian knows how to rejoice not only in big things, but also in small things, when he sees in them the love or the will of his God. A Christian rejoices and rejoices in the new day when he gets up in the morning and when he lays down to rest in the evening. What determines happiness and joy? Relationship to God, neighbors, and oneself, a clear conscience when fulfilling God’s will and not just one’s own. The greatest misfortune and obstacle to happiness and joy is evil, sin. Let’s reach inside and look at our life. When were we happy? Have we found happiness in sin? Have we met a happy egotist, a miser, a fornicator, an angry person, a scumbag, a drug addict, a thief, a murderer…? Even the most minor, making sin kills happiness and joy and makes a person sad and unhappy. The life of every person will be sad and unhappy until he returns to God, until he leaves all sin behind, until he gets closer to his neighbors.

Yes, today’s readings are right. The prophet Isaiah discovers joy when he accepts the mission “to proclaim joy to the beaten, to bind up the brokenhearted, to announce freedom to the captives and release to the bound.” (Is 61,1) St. is right. Paul, when he writes to Thessalonica: “Protect yourself from evil in any form!” (1 Thessalonians 5:22) The apostle St. John, when he describes the behavior of St. John the Baptist, who announces Christ: “He stands among you whom you do not know. He is coming after me, and I am not worthy to untie the strap of his shoe.” (Jn 1:27)

Seek joy always, but seek true joy. Today, travel agencies organize vacations where they teach people to rejoice and be happy. But many cannot and cannot be satisfied after returning from such a vacation. Only those who accept God as their Lord, his teaching as their goal of life and abandon the evil, sinful way of life can do it.
The principle applies: Look for happiness in the right address. There is no joy there. She cannot be found there. You can’t mistake joy for pleasantness. Pleasantness is one thing, that is bodily happiness, and joy of the soul is another.
The heavier the sin, the greater the pain of the soul and the bad consequences. The more one accepts illicit, sinful pleasures, the more one becomes sad and has to bear the consequences—another picture. The more often we eat what is forbidden, the more we feel the hunger, hunger and bitterness of sin—or another comparison. The more you run after forbidden pleasures, the more you move away from true joy. Joy is not possible when we are weighed down by remorse. Sometimes, it can go so far as to say that he cannot die.

In the internal department, everyone is waiting for the death of one patient. They can’t help him. A man suffers a lot in his years. They don’t understand him. The very first look at the patient reveals that something is wrong. Relatives do not come. Anyone who knows the drama of this man’s life is not surprised. It’s been going on for a week. None of the patients want to be in the room with him. An older nurse, a practicing Christian with a lot of experience, will solve the matter. In the evening, she called the priest to explain everything. To the surprise of both, the patient opened his eyes and began to confess on his own. He bet on the wrong luck in his life. He didn’t confess for years. His wife left him, and his children and his own siblings disowned him. He confessed. He died that night. A pathology employee told a nurse from the internal medicine department: “I have never seen a dead face that smiled like this man’s face.” The nurse quietly remarked: “Peace and joy returned to the heart of the deceased.” Anton Golubiev writes in Letters to a Friend: “

The more significant the gap between man and God, the sadder people are… They would also rejoice more in the things around them if they had a better relationship with God.” Vera Nordin writes about herself: “I have everything. Why am I sad?”
The words of John the Baptist, which Isaiah already knew: “Make straight the way of the Lord” are a recipe and medicine for everyone who desires true happiness and soul healingfaces. Abbot Marmion is right when he says: “Joy is the echo of God’s life in us!”
Michel Quist is right when he writes: “Are you sad? Why? No one appreciates your work, your efforts, your life? Do you want to say something important, and no one listens to you, no one likes you? Ask God for forgiveness for your sorrow and then return whole to your fellow man. Ask them, listen to them, be interested in their work, show interest in them, give them credit, appreciate their effort… and don’t expect anything from them in return. God himself will give you joy.”
The climax of Advent. The sacrament of reconciliation also belongs to the preparation for the feast of the Nativity of the Lord. We can experience peace, joy, a smile on our face, a good night’s sleep, the return of friends and more before Christmas. We believe it is possible.

What can be a lesson for us? Before telling a joke to someone, let’s tell it to God first. This will also be one of the criteria of true joy.

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Memento. History also teaches us to live wisely and to expect the last day.

Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Look at the fig tree and the other trees! When you see them budding, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see this happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things occur. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not.”

We are all aware of what has already been said: “Everything in time, the Lord God is forever.”  This is also mentioned in the passage from the Gospel about the end of the world, about which the Lord Jesus notes: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mk 21:33). . In these words, the message about the completion of the world and our life is summarized for us. These profound words speak to events and changes that stir us up to vigilance, constant expectation, and readiness. What must we not forget, and what should we be more aware of? These words speak of joy because they speak of meeting the One who chose us, who promised us that we would see his face, the most loving face, the face of the Son of Man, the loving face of Jesus. Jesus’ words to the disciples talk about the end of the world, about the events that will precede the end. Then the second time will come “the Son of man… with great power and glory” (Mk 13:26). The glorious coming of Christ, which we await, is our liberation and salvation.

This message of Jesus about the end of the world leads us to think about human life and history. May our view of life be permeated by the light of Jesus’ love. Until that day and hour comes that no one knows, not even the angels in heaven (cf. Mk 13:32). It is right to act. We know that there are values ​​in life that become an enrichment for us when we pay more attention to them. We are all called to work honestly and responsibly where and where Jesus wants us so that we do not find ourselves in a situation:

A particular person appeared before God’s court and confessed with a good heart: “Look, Lord, I have kept all your commandments; I have done nothing wrong, no injustice, no crime. Sir, my hands are clean.” “That is true, but, unfortunately, they are also empty,” replied the Supreme Judge.

Our life can be compared to a constant cry: “Maranatha!” – “Come, our Lord!” We don’t bother counting when you should come. We live in such a way that we are always ready, whether at midnight, in the morning, or during the day. Likewise, we live as if in the vestibule or the shadow of eternity. Furthermore, we have no reason for hysteria but for mercy. We believe the second coming will differ from what it was in Bethlehem. Then he came as an unknown. According to His words, we expect Him to come with Divine power to take over the kingdom of those who accepted the invitation and worked to build His kingdom. The thought of Christ’s coming brings joy and comfort to the faithful that they will be co-heirs of God’s kingdom.

The thinking sailor in Freud’s novella prepared for a life change. The idea of ​​eternity to meet our God should be similar. To do everything to be accepted into the kingdom of God. Already, the prophet Daniel wrote: “The wise will shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Dan 12,3).

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Saint Andrew-Apostle.

St. Andrew Novena OSV article

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Feast of Saint Andrew-Apostle Matthew 4, 18-22

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Not to be seduced and deceived. The false prophets did not die out.

Jehovah’s Witnesses, from their founder Charles Taz Russell (1852 – 1916), the Christian Science sect founded by Mary Ann Morse Baker, the Federation of Families for World Peace, the Unification Church, and others appear as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the sect of Yong Myung Moon (1920 – 2011), motorists, and others also catch orthodox Christians. Like mushrooms after the rain, sects, various false prophets, doctrines, and teachings, such as “The Grail Message,” “The Family,” various charismatics and leaders, Scientologists, “New Age Movement,” cults, occultism, magic or different Eastern religions appear. 

After a lengthy introduction, we realize the meaning of the Lord Jesus’ words: “Be careful not to be deceived” (Lk 21:8). The proverb says: “Curiosity is the shortest way to hell.” The truth is hidden in it. Although Lord Jesus does not explicitly state “curiosity,” he warns about increased vigilance. “Many will come and say in my name: “It is I and: “That time is near. Do not follow them” (Luke 21:8). Curiosity destroys reason and free will, underestimates vigilance, arouses fondness, craves sensation, and when a person is not careful, does not have enough vigilance, the necessary graces, he sins. In the Book of Genesis, we hear about Eve’s curiosity and subsequently about the fall, even about the fall of Adam. The building of the tower in Babylon and the sins of King David and others are souvenirs for the individual and the whole nation. Man, after the fall into sin, is prone to evil.

Jesus warns us to be vigilant, not succumbing to lies or false prophets, although they will speak in his name. Whoever believes in the love of Christ, the power of his teachings, whoever adopts the truth of Jesus, feels in Jesus’ words: “Be careful” and “Do not follow them” (Lk 21:8) that God is the Lord of everything in the world. The future belongs to God. One day, every person will be convinced of this.

We know quite a lot about the witnesses today. After all, many of them returned to Christ. Many had to overcome complete hell on their return. Such brothers and sisters need to be noticed more. Not to despise them, but on the contrary, to give them a helping hand with love, as Jesus did. Worse are the cases of sects that we have not yet mapped in our country. We do not know precisely about their content of learning, practices, way of life, attitudes towards things, events, and the like. Many of us know little about Freemasonry. What do we know about the New Age?

Jesus’ warning words retain their timeliness. On the contrary, even unhealthy curiosity will do its job. The end of the Church Year is a challenge for us not to be silent when a wave of sects spreads in our surroundings. We must know them and be able to help others avoid their snares or when the lost and deceived return.

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Man forgets that God loves him.

Man forgets that he is loved by God

Interview with Bishop Milan Lach about the fourth central truth of faith: God is a just judge who rewards the good and punishes the bad.

None of us will avoid judgment day. What will be his criteria? In an interview about the fourth central truth, Bishop Milan Lach explains the details of the personal and last judgment – what it will be like, when it will happen and what we should prepare for.

Perhaps we will be surprised by God’s logic, which he points out in the context of the differences between God’s mercy and justice, the reward of the good and the punishment of the bad.

Nowadays, we hear more about God’s mercy than about God’s justice. For this reason, many believe that God’s mercy prevails in proportion to God’s justice. Is that so?

Christ invites us to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness. And he also calls us to mercy, which is dearer to him than sacrifice. Elsewhere, he emphasizes pursuing justice, mercy, and faithfulness rather than tithing dill, cumin, and mint. Here, we see the same view of God on mercy as on justice.

Can God’s mercy and justice be compared to human characteristics so that we can better understand them?

God’s mercy and God’s justice are beyond us. We cannot set God in human parameters. Therefore the answer to this question will always be an improvisation. We “are” in God.

We can only talk about human qualities about God to a certain extent in connection with the first verses of the Book of Genesis, where it is written that God created man in his image and likeness. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ clarifies the answer better with the words: “Whoever sees me sees the Father” (Jn 14:9). And everything else follows from that.

Where is God’s mercy and justice expressed in the Holy Scriptures?

In the Old Testament, we read that God is kind, like a mother who receives and embraces a child. Also, he is merciful and extremely patient. But we also read there about a God who punishes who has no mercy. Many people have a problem with that, especially when we read the Psalms.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ speaks of God as a merciful Father. She presents him as Love. Like the fullness of love. As the most beautiful thing, with whom it forms a unity, from whom it originates, and who is sent to fulfill his will.

Pope John Paul II. , in the encyclical Dives in misericordia, he recommended invoking God’s mercy. Pope Benedict XVI claimed that mercy is a central idea for our times, he saw in it a novelty of the Christian message. Pope Francis declared 2015 the Holy Year of Mercy with the bull Misericordiae wullus. Why do the popes constantly point to God’s mercy?

In the last century, we experienced so much humanly inexplicable horror that even many believers could get the impression that God does not like us. That it’s all a punishment from God. A retribution for our sinful way of life that He cannot look upon. However, this does not mean God’s mercy was not and is not there. There are many references to God’s mercy in the church’s liturgy, but people forget it.

“We can expose ourselves to God’s love through active cooperation on our part. That means, first of all, that we need to stop and be quiet.”

Where is it most evident, unmissable when we forget or ignore God’s mercy? Where can we notice it, feel it, and experience it the most?

We Catholic Christians experience it most in the sacrament of reconciliation.

The world has its law. If a person crosses him roughly, he will go to hell. And that, of course, is right and good. It’s so okay. However, how is a person who is sentenced to life or the death penalty to come to any conclusion about the meaning of his life? That is why the church now so clearly condemns the death penalty.

And here we come to the moment of realizing that there is something more than just this earthly life. Mercy is related to eternity and the promise or offer of a new – eternal life with God. Therefore, it is essential not only to talk about God’s mercy and love, but also to expose yourself to them.

Should we expose ourselves to God’s love? How, when and where can we do it?

Always and everywhere. In God, we live, move, and are, as the apostle Paul said in the 17th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. If we live and are in God, our whole being is immersed in him. God transcends us all and everywhere.

God created everything we see around us out of love for his creation. Everything is here because of us. And we often forget that. Also, in connection with the ecological disasters that we perceive. These are not situations that we can wave our hands over.

We can expose ourselves to God’s love through active cooperation on our part. This means, first of all, that we need to stop and be still.

Does it follow that both believers and unbelievers can be exposed to God’s love?

It applies to everyone. God loves every person. It is not about someone having a “paper, a certificate, a report card” that they are baptized. If he has it, it is a bonus for him that he has discovered God’s love. This means this world is to love and actively resist temptations and addictions. The first part of the synod, which was held in October in Rome, calls all the baptized to this.

A Christian is one who follows Christ as his disciple and seeks Christ’s freedom in the Beatitudes. And it is also related to mercy. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy” (Mt 5, 7).

Today, it is not a problem to find people who are presumptuously relying on God’s mercy or despairing despite it, which are sins against the Holy Spirit. What is the difference between trust, surrender, and reliance on God’s mercy?

Presumably, relying on God’s mercy means when a person thinks that God can save him even without repenting, that is, radically abandoning sin.

Jesus Christ is God incarnate – Love. Jesus presents his Father to us as kind. God loves us as his own child. God is not a policeman as many falsely imagine him to be. Sadly, many Christians believe such a false image and live their spiritual lives accordingly.

However, every sin complicates our relationship with Love. We are invited to be one with God, to be in God as he is in us. We are invited to give ourselves entirely to him in trust. When we want this in our life, which is achieved above all in prayer, we no longer even think of making any calculation with a loving God who loves us entirely and always and forgives us anyway without our repentance.

We have passed down sayings from our ancestors: God is not hasty but memorable. Also: God’s mills grind slowly but surely. What is God waiting for so much? Why doesn’t he step in and speed things up?

Why should he speed them up? He is the unlimited Lord of space-time, and He is also Lord beyond time and beyond this three-dimensional space that we know. God is our loving Father who does not want the death of the sinner but for him to convert and live a new eternal life here on earth with God. For this reason alone, He still waits for sinners to be converted. He gives them a chance because he loves us all.

Every year, we remember the hour of Divine mercy . When and where should we perceive God’s justice?

God’s justice is already here. God gives us everything. Everything is grace. Justice is to give every one what is due to them in the measure that is due to them. And we achieve this righteousness in our lives through prayer. God’s justice is love.

Does this mean that we don’t have to fear God’s justice?

Before the Lord God, we should have the fear of God, but we should not be afraid of him. That’s the difference. God invites us to love him, to be one with him here on earth. He gives himself to us in the highest degree. He is altogether marrying us. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3, 16).

Acording to Pope Francis we have a limited idea of ​​justice; we think that whoever is wrong will pay for it and thus satisfy the wrong he has caused. But God’s justice is much greater. Its goal is not the condemnation of the guilty but his salvation, rebirth. It is the justice that comes from love, it comes from the bowels of compassion and mercy, which are the very heart of God. Could you clarify his words?

Pope Francis first points to secular law. For example, when someone steals something or commits a crime, they must pay for it. But how do you get revenge if someone murders someone? Life cannot be undone. However, such a person has the possibility of a holy confession – God’s mercy, where God can forgive his sins.

And Pope Francis subsequently points to this. However, it cannot be said that the person can now do whatever he wants.

Are you talking about penance for sins that he should perform after holy confession?

Aye. However, we are called to do penance and satisfaction even without a holy confession. John the Baptist already said: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt 3, 2). In these contexts, it must be explained that repentance is not a condition for God to forgive us. Repentance is our response to God’s mercy. Knowing God’s mercy makes us realize we don’t want to be wrong.

The things we discuss are beyond us, so they are very difficult to understand. Therefore, it can be assumed that the readers who will read this interview may not agree with it at all. These are things that are difficult for the mind to accept.

Regardless, no one can avoid their death and we should all be informed and prepare for our judgment day as best we can.

Yes, it is essential to ask now what will happen, where one will move beyond the time boundary, and how to get there. What happens then? After all, there must be some “closing” of every person’s earthly life. And life will go on. And one has to wonder what will happen next? There are people who say that everything ends with death – including all the evil they have done, that it will be fine, that everything will expire… It won’t be like this!

The idea of ​​God’s judgment in the New Testament, such as the text 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, is colored by the images of the Jewish apocalypse, which are based on the principle of reward for the righteous and punishment for the wicked. As elsewhere, the Bible uses images here – for example, rest for the moral, destruction in the flames of fire, being cast out from the face of the Lord for the wicked.

However, in all the texts, the point is that God will not evaluate people according to their mood or whims, but objectively according to how a person has decided to live during his life. God’s judgment will only be a revelation of this truth. As a person lives, so does after death.

Is that the criterion of our court?

Yes. The criterion of our judgment will be our love. That is, something that is available to everyone. We are all capable of love. But it is up to us whether to live or reject that love.

“Repentance is not a condition for God to forgive us. Repentance is our response to God’s mercy.”

The moment of judgment will be when we find out whether we really gave that love. And only God can see into a person’s heart. We cannot judge a person, not even a murderer; that would be very superficial because we cannot see into his heart. That would be too “early”.

Today, the word love is so misused and twisted that people themselves do not understand its meaning. Could you describe the love by which we will be judged?

Love is a will oriented towards the good of the one I love. Love is not an exchange – something for something. Love is selfless. And such selfless love given will weigh in the moment of judgment. God is love. So the criterion is God – the principle, the beginning, the being that transcends everything through and through. To love means to live love.

And that means forgiving and being able to accept wounds from others. This is love. Love Hurts. Love is a sacrifice. In it, not everything is easy or fine, and you can’t pretend that a loving person doesn’t have a problem with anyone. Jesus did not promise us that we would not have problems. Jesus said that the criterion is love. Everyone on earth has the opportunity to love and show love, to be exposed to it. But some people reject it.

At our court, neither faith nor the church will be decisive, “only” love?

Christ speaks of love. We have the Church to help us get to know Love more surely. It is a community of believers who believe in Love and whom this world should know. And this is currently the challenge for us Christians.

Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn 13, 35). This is our human problem, which we struggle with out of human weakness. And rightly so, we are criticized by people outside the church for not bearing witness to Love.

True love is willing to go to such a degree. Christ also did this. From the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them.” From the cross, which was the most excellent, most shameful form of torture in his day!

Not every person is capable of such holy, heroic deeds. People usually have a problem with forgiving and forgetting similar brutally serious wrongs. When someone commits a serious crime, such as murder, tyranny, abuse of victims of violence, or human trafficking, especially children or their organs, how and where should mercy and justice take place?

These are harrowing things that can never be excused and excused. These are reprehensible acts. Criminal liability for these acts must be applied, without debate, immediately!

The public must talk about this as a precaution so that these victims are no longer penalized and there is no recurrence in other forms because these actions are dangerous for the whole society. When evil happens, it must be prevented as soon as possible! Absolutely! Absolutely! No covering up! The state law applies, and justice must also be judged.

Mercy with forgiveness is needed internally. I would also recommend experts – psychotherapists – to these victims. Healing of such wounds can take several years. And only the Lord can heal them. Nobody else. There is no point in looking for forms other than forgiveness because they don’t exist.

In the Our Father prayer, we pray: “(…) and forgive us our trespasses, as we also forgive our trespassers.” And we pray that every day. Jesus taught these words to his disciples when they asked him to tell them how to pray. Christ puts these words into our mouths as “instruction” with the words “do it this way.”

Does forgiveness make one merciful?

By forgiving, a person resembles Christ and thereby becomes a saint. This is what holiness is – in daily forgiveness.

We talked about a personal trial, the main criterion of which will be love. Love above all else despite drastic wrongs and wounds. When will this moment of judgment occur for us?

According to the church tradition, it will be at the moment of our death and meeting with the Lord. When we pass from earthly life to eternal life, beyond time and space. To the dimension that we know from the narrative of the images of Jesus Christ. It will depend on whether we will be in God or feel the absence of God because we ourselves will reject him. At the moment of death, we all have the grace to decide whether we want to be with God.

In these contexts we encounter opinions about predestination.

The Catholic Church rejected the delusions of predestination, that is, who will or will not go to heaven. We freely decide whether or not we want to be with God. Our entire personal judgment will be about whether we decide for God.

So, can no one be excluded beforehand from heavenly bliss?

Lotor on the cross was saved at the last moment when he said to Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” He answered him: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23, 42-43)

It is a biblical moment for us that makes it clear to us that we cannot exclude anyone from salvation. Even if a person fights against the church all his life. In history, there are many evidences of great radical conversions, such as St. Paul or St. Augustine. Sinners became saints. Mercy goes this far.

And when we talked at the beginning about the difference between God’s and man’s mercy, the answer here is more prominent that man is incapable of God’s mercy by himself. Human qualities make it impossible to achieve such an attitude. God’s mercy has a different logic.

What is the logic of God’s mercy?

It is very well illustrated in the parable of the vineyard (Mt 20), when people came to work at 9:00 a.m., at 12:00 p.m., at 3:00 p.m., at 5:00 p.m. The first ones thought that they would definitely get paid more. And there was a great disappointment when the Lord said he could do what he wanted and rewarded everyone equally.

So far, we have talked about personal judgment. Despite our human limitations, let’s at least try to go beyond the horizon of death and private judgment, which requires another higher level of spiritual insight. After all this, the final judgment awaits us. What do we know about him?

The final judgment will be at the world’s end as we await the Lord’s second coming. We can say that the last judgment will be like a general statement, a summary of all personal judgments.

It’s hard to name it. All these human verbal expressions will always “falter” as they are only very weak comparisons. We don’t know how it will be. What we know for sure is that this time will surely come.

And it will be a time when our bodies will also be resurrected and glorified. That is why Christians bury human bodies with respect in the ground because these bodies will one day be resurrected from the dead. It is related to the moment of Christ’s second coming. This will happen at the time of the last judgment.

Many hypotheses and conjectures about this time can be found on the Internet. Do we know exactly when it will happen?

Jesus says that he himself does not know. Only the heavenly Father knows when it will be. However, we know that this moment will come when the end of the world, the end of our planet, that tiny poppy seed in the entire galaxy, and the universe.

One day, all this will end. What it will be and how it will be, we have yet to determine. It can be, for example, the extinction of the star we call the Sun, and there will be no more energy, or heat. But that is not important. The essential thing is that the moment of the last judgment will be after the second coming of Christ, when he comes in glory.

In the Holy Scriptures we read: “Now is the judgment of this world, now will the prince of this world be cast out” (Jn 12, 31). In another place, in connection with judgment, we read about the eternal torment of the unjust and the eternal life of the righteous (Mt 25, 46). How should we explain these words?

The words from the Gospel according to John are from the Farewell Speech. It is a parable. Jesus often expressed himself in parables so that people would better understand what he wanted to tell them. However, in the words about the last judgment, which are recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew, he no longer speaks as a parable, but as a picture that will be.

What will be the reward of the righteous that we should desire and strive to obtain?

The reward will be life in fullness with God. This means being happy, blissful, having all the desires of the heart fulfilled by God – completely and absolutely. To be in God, in perfect peace. Saint Paul said: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

In the Holy Scriptures we also find other information about the end of the world: “(…) the angels will come out, separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 13:49). Could you clarify these words so we know what to avoid at all costs?

That is the opposite of what I just said. People who do not love God will be damned. If they do not love God, they cannot love their neighbor. Typical examples are tyrants, tyrants. Let no one say that they love God.

“If anyone says, ‘I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar.’ After all, he who does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see. And we have this commandment from him: that he who loves God should also love his brother'” (1 John 4, 20-21).

That is why the church calls people to love God. Because if he loves God, he will also love people. And the one who does not do this is a schizophrenic, a hypocrite, because he says one thing and does another. I do not believe that a person who consciously actively harms innocent defenseless people and is not mentally disturbed loves God.

Those who did not accept love, that is, did not accept God in their lives, will be punished. Some people imagine that somewhere “out there” is God, but here is my life. I am a Christian for one hour on Sunday, but I live differently seven days a week.

We also see this in our company in Slovakia. This is the tragedy of the whole thing – they didn’t understand, they didn’t accept, we didn’t learn the truth about the true God. And that is that God is love. And nothing else will help us. Neither on earth, nor in Slovakia, nor the Slovak church, just to like each other, to love each other, to forgive each other and to eliminate the division that is very felt here.

What will it look like in damnation?

In damnation, there will be an absence of God. Figuratively, we can compare it to the opposite of a beautiful sunny day somewhere by the sea, where a person is exposed to heat, light, glow, and good humidity. That is, a person will be in the dark, cold, frost, in such a winter that it will not be possible to stand in it. And forever, without end. There is no time in eternity.

Nevertheless, his whole being, existence, and consciousness of being at all will burn him. The fact that he rejected God will burn him the most. Because man has free will. 

Last judgment icon

The Last Judgment icin can help us supplement information or complete the picture of the Last Judgment. What can we learn from it?

The icon of the Last Judgment is also known as the Second Coming. It points to the second coming of Jesus Christ. The second coming is seen as God’s final judgment on the people of every nation, resulting in the reward of some and the punishment of others.

Around the vertical axis above the fiery river that ends in hell, Jesus appears as the judge. He comes before mankind. To his left is John the Baptist, and to his right is the Virgin Mary. Also present are the apostles and a multitude of angels and people awaiting the hour of judgment.

The icon points to the gospel message that each of us will die one day, after death, will appear before a personal judgment at the hour of his death, and at the end of the world the Lord Jesus will come to earth for the second time to execute the last and definitive judgment.

Also written on the icon is a series of images depicting the causes for which human souls may be damned. This is important for us to know.

They are the passions or vices based on the division made by Evagrius of Pontus, and there are eight of them: gluttony, fornication, avarice, anger, acedia – aversion to spiritual things, sorrow, vain glory and pride.

Here on the icon are even more specified the torments or torments that souls will suffer for individual bad deeds that they did during their earthly life and did not repent.

And so here we have troubles: 1.) misers; 2.) heretics; 3.) proud; 4.) idolaters; 5.) wicked and criminals; 6.) usurers of people; 7.) drunkards; 8.) predators and killers; 9.) fornicators; 10.) wizards; 11.) murderers of people; 12.) fornicators; 13.) gossipers and bilinguals; 14.) thieves and those who receive stolen goods; and 15.) lovers of money – greedy.

Also there is another row showing which people will go to eternal torment. Which people will they be, or what should we avoid so that we are not among them?

Individual categories are depicted there: the poor, merchants, farmers, artisans, bishops, priests and monks. All bear the penalty of neglecting to be faithful in their calling in earthly life.

According to the vision of Blessed Theodora, the soul of the condemned passes through the so-called toll booths. What should we imagine under that?

According to her vision, the soul, after death, goes through certain checkpoints – toll booths, where it is confronted with the assistance of its guardian angel and an evil spirit with its vices or sins that it has committed during its life.

If he can stand one station, he advances to the next. If he passes all of them, he goes to heaven, but if he doesn’t pass even one of them, he can go to hell.

The mentioned soul is the soul of each one of us. Even here in earthly life we ​​have a guardian angel to help us, yet we fall. As long as we live on earth – if we fail some test, we usually still have the possibility of correction. Will it be a “life and death” test after death? Will we have other helpers to help us pass this test? 

Some mystics say that people who have shown respect for the Virgin Mary during their lives will also have her when they die and she will help them—also saints, personal patrons and many others.

For example, when a bishop stands at the last judgment, his witnesses will be his believers, who will either support him because he stood by them during his earthly life, or they will condemn him because he was not with them, did not stand up for them, remained silent, was not interested in them, did not have their like. All these witnesses will be there. Figuratively speaking, we are going into this new dimension together.

Are you implying that we should count on the fact that someone with us will testify against us to “sink” us?

In a very hostile sense, especially evil spirits will testify against us.  

Everything will be revealed in this objectivity. The whole truth will be revealed. There you will not be able to hide from anything, you will not be able to conceal or outwit anything. But there we will also have a strong defense:

“But if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ, the righteous. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins; and not only for our sins but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn 2, 1-2). And the Book of Revelation says that there is also an accuser who sues us day and night (Revelation 12:10).

“I do not believe that a person who knowingly, actively harms innocent defenseless people and is not mentally disturbed loves God.”

So, according to these images, the last judgment will take place as a battle between prosecution and defense, while the Advocate – Jesus Christ, who will defend sinners, will have stronger “trump cards” in the sense: I was human, I know what it is to be in human skin, I know how strong temptations can be, I know how fragile and weak man is, and I even died for those people.

And satan, the accuser, what did he do? He just sues and “snaps” at people because he doesn’t know how to love, and when he doesn’t know how to be happy, he doesn’t want to let anyone do that.

Can we somehow help other people get to heaven so that they too can attain a state of eternal bliss?

We cannot force anyone to love or believe. We can explain things to people and pray for them. This is how we can help those people. Accompany them with your prayers and your example. This is very important. To show them God’s love here on earth.

Already from the time of early Christianity, we have examples of many saints who faithfully and fearlessly professed their faith in Jesus before the emperor. When their executioners saw this Christian attitude, they themselves believed in God at that moment – which cost them their lives, because finally the executioners themselves were beheaded because of this faith.

We Christians have a solemn mission on earth that we are not even aware of. Let’s be patient and leave the rest to God. Let us not take God’s justice into our hands, although we have inclinations and tendencies to do so. Even our politicians. It gives me chills when I see how they put themselves in the position of God.

We must realize that we are not God, and do everything we can for the good of man and society. We are not here to judge and condemn, but at the same time we must protect people and society from danger so that we can all live well here.

Could you narrow down this important life advice to a personal level?

We consistently live our profession in which we are. If, for example, you are a husband and a father, then be him fully and responsibly. Love and seek the good of your wife and children, for as you live your calling; you will be held accountable after death. And so we could continue row after row for everyone.

Is this what our personal preparation should look like so that we are guaranteed to pass our last test – the secret trial and receive an eternal blissful reward?

Let us love God and love people. That is the best preparation. Daily, patiently, in small deeds, without claim to reward, satisfaction. We don’t have to immediately put a status on Facebook or Instagram about who we helped, what charity we did or what diploma we have framed in our office. To these people the Lord Jesus says: “You have already received your reward.” Done.

But if we go to do something out of love, let our left hand not know what our right hand is doing… And our Father will reward us, because he sees even in secret (Mt 6, 3-4).

I encourage all of us to live the words that are in God’s word every day with joy, to the fullest, and then I believe that we will all meet together in heaven

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Conversion is surrenderto the love of God

Like a frightened dog, after all the barking and running away at every
movement, he finally dares to come and be petted and fed – and ultimately, his fear breaks, and he believes us. That’s how we are towards God. Somehow, I’m reluctant to think that it’s real. We’re always afraid it’s just a sham. Although “we are called children of God” (1Jn 3:1), we are not really; we are so what we say. “There is only one Father, the heavenly Father” (Mt 23:9), but even that is not entirely true, and we certainly cannot count on God as if by our Father. God is, in fact, still Lord, and we still serve only as subjects and servants. We call Him that Father because He likes it that way, but otherwise, He is the Lord. If we don’t prove ourselves, He will cast us out and damn us. But otherwise, He is reluctant and not to be reckoned with much in life.
Faith, then, is as when we at last yield, as when a man at previous ventures out on a frozen lake and is astonished to find that the ice holds him and that he has not fallen in, and he shouts for joy and leaps and dances on the ice. So he feels the need to scream, sing, and dance, who has ventured onto the ice of the sonship of God and suddenly experienced that it is so! Here is born the desire and the need to evangelize – to share with all this tremendous discovery that it is so! We have entered and found that this is genuinely home! That God is Father! We are His children, His sons and daughters, and Christ,   our real brother! And we can live in this Home, in this Family!
And there, in God’s House, in this Family, in this unity and companionship of love, truly and finally lose notions of greatness, smallness, importance, lastness, meaning, and sense. All is one, all is One. God has become a man; man has become a god. It is the rest. In the arms of the Father. In the Family. At home. Where we belong. In our place. At last. To hell with Ego! What is needed in this House? Useless!

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Anointed King.

For a Christian, to reign means to serve.

Anointed King

The relief of the Last Judgment on the northern portal of the Košice Cathedral of St. Elizabeth. Photo:

The final Sunday in the calendar of the liturgical year before the beginning of the Advent season bears the title of the celebration of Jesus Christ, King of Heaven and Earth, in the Catholic Church.

As we know, the word Christ means “anointed one.” It is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “Messiah.” In the Old Testament, only kings, priests, and prophets received anointing—the content of their mission points to the importance of the person of Christ. And since every Christian is also anointed, the priestly prophetic and royal mission concerns all the baptized.

Part of the baptism ceremony is the anointing accompanied by the words: “Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, freed you from sin, reborn you from water and the Holy Spirit, and included you among his people.” Now he marks you with the chrism (oil) of salvation, so that you may be a member of Christ, priest, prophet, and king, and have eternal life.”

What does it mean more precisely? Catechism explains that “the people of God share in these three functions of Christ and are responsible for the mission and service that result from them.” 

The priestly mission means the Christian is responsible for entering into Christ’s work of glorifying God, which is carried out through participation in the liturgy and daily self-sacrifice out of love.

The mission of the prophet means to show the truth of the gospel to the world around by the witness of his life.

But what does it mean to participate in Christ’s royal mission? We can elaborate more on three points on today’s feast of Christ the King.

To rule with Christ means, first of all, to be free from every form of slavery.

“For you have not received the spirit of slavery so that you have to fear again,” writes the apostle Paul in one of his letters. “Do you not know that to whom you enslave yourselves and obey, you are slaves to whom you obey? Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal body, so that you yield to its lusts, and do not give your members to sin as instruments of iniquity, but give yourselves to God as the living who have been raised from the dead,” Paul explains, adding: “This freedom Christ won for us. So stand firm and do not allow yourself to be yoked to slavery again.’

“After all, what is so royal as when a spirit subordinate to God rules over its body?” asks Saint Pope Leo the Great. It is also essential to add that the spiritual freedom stemming from participation in Christ’s royal office gives Christians a free distance from political messiahship in any form.

Second, “in a theological sense,” writes Bishop Robert Barron, “a king is someone who directs the abilities and gifts within the community to direct it toward God. It’s like being a general in an army or a conductor in an orchestra: to lead is to coordinate the efforts and talents of a community of people so that they can achieve a common goal.

Thus, a Catholic parent directs his children to fulfill the mission God gave them, educates them, shapes their behavior, controls their desires, etc. A Catholic politician understands the moral dimension of his work and issues laws and guidelines accordingly. A Catholic developer can help by providing the community jobs in a declining neighborhood, etc.”

“The premise of ruling with Christ is to serve him out of love in our neighbors, especially the suffering and marginalized.”

“How does one grow in the capacity to exercise kingly leadership?” asks Bishop Barron, and answers: “It can be done by overcoming cultural prejudices that see religion as a purely private matter, something in the sense of a hobby. Such weakened faith has nothing to do with the Christian mission. According to the Catholic faith, the baptized are responsible for speaking boldly and publicly and being willing to lead by personal example.”

Finally, understanding our participation in Christ’s kingly office can help us become the Gospel of Matthew that we read in today’s liturgy.

In it, Jesus appears as a king who, at his second coming, will sit on the throne of his glory as judge of the living and the dead. Participating in his rule is here expressed thus: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a traveler and you embraced me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.’

It is clear from these words that the prerequisite for reigning with Christ is to serve him out of love for our neighbors, especially the suffering and marginalized.

Let’s look again at the catechism: “The Church recognizes the image of its poor and suffering Founder, especially in the poor and suffering. God’s people realize their ‘royal rank’ by living according to the call to serve with Christ, who ‘came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ For a Christian, serving him means reigning.”

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Sacrifice everything.

Jesus is pleased with those who can renounce everything for him.

We are preparing for the end of the church year. We are living the days of the Passion. A look at nature speaks of a new season of the year, winter. Inadvertently, questions come to our minds: Have we done all we can in our relationship with God? Have we given God all that we were obligated to provide? Nature has become orphaned. She has given us everything that has been produced. Like an echo, the word “all” carries to us today (Mk 12:44).

The last sentence of today’s Gospel emphasizes the meaning of the word “all” when the Lord Jesus spoke words of praise about the woman, the poor widow, saying, “In her poverty, she gave all that she had, her whole livelihood” (Mk 12:44).

There is something of dignity in the woman’s gesture, something that disheartens the contemporary man—the man of the consumer who would only like to take and give nothing of himself. The words “everything” and sacrificing “everything” today shock and, to say the least, astonish me. The man who chooses to do so today is considered a madman or a freak. Jesus evaluates it differently. Today’s Gospel presents three categories of people.

First, these are the learned in the Scriptures, the scribes, the consumer people. They only want to take. We know that they demanded respect, honors, titles, first places, and more from others. The second group of people are those who really give a lot, but only enough to have enough left over for themselves. On the contrary, the third is the group of people bewitched by the word “everything”. They share what they have, the last piece of bread, who give everything for God, Jesus, and the other person, like the woman, the widow in the Gospel. She does not share; she gives all that she has. The Gospel wants to show us two different attitudes, when one provides only something and when one gives everything. And the woman, the widow? Her “two small coins, which is a quadrant” (Mk 12:42) helped no one. But the woman did “only” what she thought best, gave everything, and in so doing, put her life in direct dependence on God. The way of Jesus speaks of dependence on the Father. This is the way Jesus refers to as the way of true discipleship. The Gospel does not speak of social sentiment, but of surrendering one’s life to God. God wants the heart of man. Whoever submits his whole self to God makes room for love between God and man. This is not irresponsible, but it is not easy either.

What is sacrifice? A sacrifice or gift is called any offering to God in ordinary life. It is when, out of love for God, one consciously and voluntarily renounces pleasant and lawful things for the sake of one’s soul or the good of one’s brethren. What is the object of sacrifice? What does sacrifice cost us? The highest price of sacrifice is our own life. So also we understand death for Christ. Remember, for example, the martyr Maximilian Kolbe of Auschwitz, who went into the hunger bunker for fellow prisoner Francis out of love for God.

A sacrifice dear to God can also be the renunciation of food, not only in Lent and on Fridays, the renunciation of an evening movie on TV when I use the time for my family or to read something for my soul. Giving up the benefits that belong to me is also a gift. Renunciation is meant to help us overcome our weaknesses, faults, or sins.

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