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THE TIME OF PREPARATION
Fr. Steven Scherrer
Homily of Thursday, 17th Week of the Year, July 30, 2009
Ex 40:16-21,34-38, Ps 83, Mt 13:47-53


"So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous, and throw them into the furnace of fire; there, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Mt 13:49-50).


We are now awaiting this end of the age when "the angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous" (Mt 13:49). It is now midsummer and the fruits of the earth are ripening for the harvest. The harvest of the fruits of the earth is the great symbol of the final harvest of the earth at the end of the age, when the angels, the reapers, will come out and separate the weeds from the wheat and cast the weeds into the fire, and the wheat into the barn. The fire is the eternal fire of hell, where "there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Mt 13:42), and the barn full of wheat is the fullness of the Kingdom of God. We now await this day of judgment, a day of fire and light: fire for "the sons of the evil one," and light for "the sons of the kingdom" (Mt 13:38). "Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Mt 13:43).


"So it will be at the close of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous" (Mt 13:49). They will cast the wicked "into the furnace of fire; there, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth" (Mt 13:50). It will be like a net full of fish, which the fishermen drag ashore, and sit down, putting the good ones into baskets, and throwing the bad ones away (Mt 13:48).


God would like to gather everyone, and so he throws the net into the sea, but he also knows that not all will be good and worthy of the Kingdom of God. It is up to us then to receive the justification of Christ with faith so that God, through sending his Son as a substitute for us on the cross, absorbing in this way his righteous wrath against our sins, can justly forgive us. He then clothes us with the righteousness of Christ himself when we believe in him and invoke his merits for the forgiveness of our sins. And so we shine even now with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Then we must cooperate with the grace of God, and try to obey him in everything to that we might be sanctified. Only those who are justified and sanctified will be chosen and put into baskets at the end of the age. The rest, the angels will cast into the furnace of fire.


We are now awaiting this day of glory and light, clothing ourselves with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, living from his resurrection. But this present life is also a school in which God is always teaching us new things and punishing us in our heart for our errors, imperfections, and sins, so that we will learn and be prepared and perfected on the last day to be among the elect who will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of our Father.


 


 

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