Easter6 – You’re Not Good Enough To Go To Heaven | #127

Fr. Joel Homilies 1 Comment

Easter, 6th Sunday • “Love one another as I have loved you,” Jesus says. Good thing he didn’t ask us to do any of that hard stuff like keeping the 10 Commandments! Today’s Gospel shows us the connection between the commandments and love: If you love me, you will keep my commandments. We have been loved by God, and the commandments show us what is the right way (or the wrong way) to respond to His love.

Sometimes I talk to elderly people who are close to death. They confide in me that they are worried about the next life:
“I’m not sure if I am good enough to get to heaven.”
I like to comfort them by reminding them: “I don’t know what you’ve done, but I know this: you are definitely not good enough to get to Heaven.”
This is because we are called to love as Jesus has loved us. Only one person was ever good enough to get to Heaven on his own: Jesus himself. The rest of us have to ask for help. Fortunately, Jesus is ready to help: I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you always, the Spirit of truth…
The word Paraclete can be translated  many ways. It is a Greek word meaning, “One called to be with us”. What does the Paraclete do? Depends on what you need:

  • If you were tried for a crime, a Paraclete would be your Advocate, speaking for you and defending you.
  • If you were trying to make a hard decision, a Paraclete would be your Counselor, giving you wise advice.
  • If you were going through a difficult time, a Paraclete would be your Comforter, listening to you and encouraging you.

The Holy Spirit is with us, and even in us. He is our Advocate, our Counselor, and our Comforter. Jesus realizes that Has asked us to do the impossible — to love others as he has loved us. But he has also made it possible for us by giving us the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit with us and in us, we really can love as He has loved us. (29 May 2011)

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    Some people were confused by this homily. I don’t think I fully explained myself.
    What if you were an orphan, and a rich family with only 1 child of their own chose to adopt you. Could you say you had earned your adoption? Certainly not! It is a free gift. But the family could reasonably expect you to follow their rules and behave like their child, or you might face serious consequences.
    In the same way, Heaven is for God’s children. None of us earned the free adoption we have all received. Now we can be reasonably expected to act as God’s children. It’s not that we have to be ‘good enough’ to get to Heaven, but rather that we have to live in a manner matching our Christian dignity. That’s why I can say that none of us is good enough to get to Heaven. You don’t get there by being good, you get there by being God’s.
    (in older Catholic theology, they will talk about being in a “state of grace” which means a relationship with God, and a “state of mortal sin”, which means out of relationship with God. This is what I am referring to)

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