September 21st: I came to call sinners; not the virtuous
September 21, 2020
September 22nd: Those who hear the word…
September 21, 2020

Don’t try to slip into Heaven; do the work! 

Think you get into Heaven last minute? Think again, because you may not be like St Dismas, the good thief crucified with Jesus.

“Many of us believe believe that we should slip into Heaven without doing the spiritual work of becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, we should slip into Haven by doing minimal work…in our own formation process…” Archbishop Jason Gordon said.

In the homily last Sunday at the Living Water Community Chapel, he said the Gospel Matthew 20:1-16 was speaking to Catholics. In his usual candour, he informed of a deficiency of Catholic thinking, “we believe we can do the minimal and get the maximum; we may well get into Heaven we may, but we may not”.

Archbishop Gordon said Catholics underestimate the benefits of living as a disciple of Christ from a young age. Some persons were living their lives loose and wild and doing foolishness.

“There is also deep anxiety in that. There is a sense of being ungrounded in that as the world moves headlong into hedonism and power and pleasure and money and prestige”. He added, “the sense of dis-ease has never been higher, the need for medication and pharmaceutics have never been higher”.

He noticed there were Catholics who wanted “a la carte” discipleship picking and choosing or responding according to how they felt. “We ain’t feeling so good so we don’t come to Mass on a Sunday; we not feeling so happy so we don’t do this and we don’t do that but at the end of the day you want the get out of jail free card,” he said.

Archbishop Gordon noted persons experienced a lot of anxiety about whether or not they will get into Heaven and anxiety living on earth in an ungrounded state, “you don’t even how who you are and you don’t know who God is.”

The deepest benefit is living in total harmony with God and letting themselves be loved by God. Archbishop Gordon said, “We are not understanding the real depth, real truth, real joy of our human living is living in Christ”. He referred to when churches were reopened in June. Apart from immune-compromised persons and those with health conditions which placed them at risk, he said there were persons who chose to watch Mass on television rather than attend in person. Focusing on faith formation he said, “What are we doing when we offer courses on catechetical instruction and offer ways for you to grow in your faith to come to Jesus Christ more deeply and you say that too hard.” He commented people were signing up for other things like pilates.

Archbishop Gordon said, “Every gift that the Church offers to us and to participate fully in the life of the Church can never be a burden… because what it gives to you is far more than you will understand”. He continued, “what you will get from that participation is a way of experiencing living with a joy that would be abundant and happiness will be evermore.”

Archbishop Gordon suggested the labourer who worked from early could be seen as being like the conscientious Christian who availed themselves of every catechetical opportunity to grow their faith.

The Archbishop said, “The denarius you are paid, the end of day’s wage is the get out of jail free card, the invitation to the eternal banquet; that is the second benefit that we receive”.  If attention is only on this then persons can miss the point-living discipleship, Christianity, and receiving what God wants to give now.  He challenged the faithful to move from anxiety and to change the thinking that is stopping them from the joy needed through knowing Jesus Christ. “The real joy is knowing Christ Jesus our Lord and our saviour.”

The Archbishop said the text also gives an image of God that is “beyond all human reckoning”. It is through the hard work of spiritual and corporal works of mercy, reading the scriptures, daily prayer and catechetics Catholics come to know the “superabundant, incredible love of this God”.

He described everything else from the real joy as posturing while hoping to be like St Dismas.

Using a local vernacular he commented, “and you know Gopaul luck ain’t Seepaul luck, Dimus get in; you may not.