Newsletter for Sunday 15 November 2015

14 Nov

THE FOUR LAST THINGS

This weekend the readings for the 33rd Sunday of the Year prompt us to reflect on The Four Last Things: death, judgement, heaven, and hell, and in so doing we come face-to-face with our ultimate finality. What happens when we die?  How does our current life-styles affect our futures?  Is there a continuity between our present actions and what we will become of us in the future?

Catholic theology asserts that there is “life after death” but it also asserts that there will be judgement of the person at the moment of death (particular judgement), that there will be collective judgement of the human community at the Second Coming (general judgment), that there will be the Resurrection of the body and the Second Coming of Christ ( – the Parousia).

Pope Benedict XII’s decree Benedictus Deus (1336) affirmed that at the moment of death there will be particular judgement.  This doctrine was declared official teaching of the Church by the Council of Florence (1439) and the Council of Trent (1563) and reaffirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The choices we now make are significant.  So, as we think about words we say in the Creed:  “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting”,  let us also ponder these words of scripture from today’s readings:

“Of those who are sleeping in the Land of Dust, many will awaken … to life everlasting.”

“The learned will shine as brightly as the vault of heaven, and those who have instructed many in virtue, as bright as stars for all eternity.”

Fr Philip Sainter

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