Sunday Sermon for June 21, 2020, the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Readings: Jer 20:10-33; Rom 5:12-15; Mt 10:26-33
In the Gospel reading today our Lord tells us, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” In its fullness, this passage refers to the General Judgment that will come at the end of the world. At that time, every person, in Heaven or in hell, will be gathered together and God will reveal every sin committed in the history of the world. This is not something to fear. Keep in mind that each person will have already experienced their own individual or particular judgment, so nothing will change for anyone regarding their eternal destiny.
At the General Judgment, everything will be exposed so that each person will see clearly how merciful God has been and the overwhelming number of sins He has forgiven. At that point people will understand what St. Paul speaks of in the second reading when he tells us about the gift not being like the transgression. Rather, he says, “how much more did the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ overflow for the many.” For the souls in Heaven, this understanding will increase their gratitude and their praise of the Lord. For those in hell, it will increase their torment because they will see that people with far greater sins than their own have been forgiven and are in Heaven and, if they had humbled themselves and repented, they too, would have been forgiven.
Having said this, I must add that this revelation of sins will not be problematic for anyone in Heaven. In other words, if you are afraid that someone will see your sins, fear not. In Heaven, everyone will be perfect in charity, so no one will look at another and make a judgment about what they have done or failed to do. The only thing the saints will be concerned about is praising God that you, and they, are in Heaven.
All that has been said thus far will happen at the end of the world. In the meantime, we are living in a time when evil is being revealed for what it is. Too many people have failed to recognize the evil that has surrounded them for years. Many have actually reveled in the evil, not even realizing that it is evil. The devil has done a fantastic job of camouflaging his nonsense. Between the media, music, fashions, video games, and so many other enticements, many things that are very bad have been presented as fun, good, and exciting.
What amazes me is that those who choose evil do not even try to hide it anymore. The word “occult” means “hidden,” but the evil is right out where everyone can see it. On one hand, it tells us the devil is so convinced he has won this battle that he is arrogantly coming out of the darkness and allowing his plan to be seen. Just look at the events of past weeks.
While the vile creature parades around in his arrogance, God is using this situation to extend His mercy. People keep wondering when God is going to intervene. I understand they are looking for an extraordinary intervention that will put an end to this unfortunate mess, but that will need to wait until the time God has determined. In the meantime, what is happening is an intervention of God. He is forcing the darkness to be exposed in the light so it can be seen clearly by people and rejected. Some will continue to rejoice in the evil, but those of good will will be offered God’s grace to reject the evil and persevere in the good.
This is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Much more will be revealed. Satan has been at work for generations and preparing for this time. He is convinced of his victory, but we already know from Genesis 3:15 who is going to win: the Woman will crush the head of the serpent. We know, as Jeremiah proclaims in the first reading, that our “persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure, they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion.” However, until the day the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary arrives, this will be a time of testing and persecution for those who choose to serve God. Like Jeremiah, we must entrust our cause to the Lord Who tests the just and probes mind and heart.
Jesus told us not to be afraid of those who can kill the body but cannot kill the soul. We know the grace of God and the gracious gift of Jesus Christ. Do not be afraid! Have confidence! Trust God! The time has come to stand up and acknowledge Jesus Christ before the world.
Fr. Altier’s column appears regularly in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly published in St. Paul, Minn. For information about subscribing to The Wanderer, please visit www.thewandererpress.com.