We attain heaven through suffering

Homily Series: Perseverance

Trust God, even though he may seem to have abandoned you.

As we head toward Pentecost we remember that we have the same Holy Spirit that the disciples received. And as it was for the disciples, our role is to spread the good news of the gospel. In the first reading we read “It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” This is true, but the Lord encourages us to persevere, to take up our cross and follow him.

In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus gives a new commandment. We are to love others as He has loved us. It is a kind of love we can’t generate on our own. We need the grace of God to love others.

The disciples rejoiced that they were able to suffer for the name of Jesus. In this world, we have many troubles. Because God loves us, he invites us deeper.

The second reading from the book of Revelation tells us what heaven will be like: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.”

Suffering perfects our hearts, if we only believe in God’s merciful love.

C.S. Lewis talks about love in his book The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

Fr. Steve encourages us to be vulnerable in love.

In the movie The Passion, as Jesus falls under the weight of the cross, he says to his mother the line from today’s second reading, “Behold, I make all things new.”

In his post-communion comments Fr. Steve exhorts us to love our enemies. As St. John of the Cross says, “Where you find no love, put love and you will draw love out.”

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