Everyone in their right mind believes that death is inevitable. Some of us believe that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there will be a final judgment, a separation of the good from the bad. We believe all these “last things” are real, and for people of faith they are a sobering reality. And yet we should be careful not to let the thought of the end times fill us with unnecessary fear. As Christians we know that God is a loving and merciful Father who has provided us with all we need to stand confident, even on the Day of Judgment.
Time and time again, Scripture reminds us that those who belong to Christ are a new creation, and that those who believe in Christ have passed from death to life and do not come to judgment. The liberating truth of the Gospel is that as we remain in Christ, we become, in him “sheep” and not “goats”; we become “wheat,” not “weeds.”
For some people the inevitability of death and judgment scares them. They avoid thinking about death and they immerse themselves instead in the day-to-day demands of life. Our Lord shows us that we don’t have to be afraid of death and judgment. He helps us place everything in our lives in the proper order so that we can look forward to the day when we will see him face to face. As we come to him in prayer he will show us how great a treasure we have in him, and he will show us how to live in a way that pleases him.
God wants us to know that Baptism is only the beginning of our relationship with him. The same is true of Confirmation, Marriage, Religious Profession or Ordination. They are not the end of the line, rather they are starting points, and they are new beginnings. The process of conversion is a lifelong experience. Our Lord wants to sustain us every day by his Holy Spirit. He wants to teach us how to live in him every day so that, whatever may come our way, we can hold onto his promise of salvation and remain confident that we are redeemed in him. Every day, Our Lord gives himself to us in the Eucharist so that we may give ourselves to him.