If you want peace and security in this life you should read carefully Luke 12:40-48.
Only Jesus Christ can supply peace and security because he suffered every indignity, and yet forgave, even while he was dying on the cross. God then rewarded Jesus Christ by raising him from them dead and gave him everlasting life as Supreme Judge of the world. Christ will come again in his glory to judge the living and the dead, and we want to be prepared to receive Him with divine faith, hope and love: that sanctifying grace needed to overcome all mortal sins by making a good confession at least once a year (but we are encouraged to confess monthly.)
Jesus delights in his people, and sent the Holy Spirit to us that we might grow as his disciples by learning how to pray fervently, serve generously, study the Catholic faith diligently, and lovingly live and share the faith with others in order to attain heaven. Being a Christian disciple brings true peace and security.
Jesus Christ is God and he speaks to us about the three levels of the One Church
There are three levels of God’s Church and those at each level can share spiritual gifts with those members at the other levels. The first level is the ―Church Militant‖ which comprises all the baptized who are in this world as soldiers of Christ and ambassadors of God’s peace. There are also the ―Church Suffer-ing,‖ the faithful in purgatory, and the ―Church Triumphant‖ who are the saints in heaven.
As members of the ―Church Militant,‖ we are called to battle the forces of evil and defend the dignity of every human being by promoting the Catholic faith through our prayers, worship, study, service and welcoming/evangelization. We do these things because we love God above all things and love God appropriately within all things, even loving and forgiving our enemies.
Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”How much of our time, talent and treasure do we invest in practicing our Catholic faith? Unfortunately, there are many who neglect strengthening their faith, and sometimes fall into grave sin which weakens their soul and the souls of those around them, thus jeopardizing our eternal salvation. And yet, praise God, many are repenting because some are calling them to invest in growing in their faith, hope and love by believing all that Jesus Christ taught.
People ask, “Where is heaven, hell and purgatory mentioned in the Bible?”
Look no further than today’s Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 40 and following: Luke 12: 40+. Jesus said that the faithful who are fully prepared for their death and look forward to Christ’s second coming, whichever comes first, will be put in charge of all his property. What is God’s property? It is the blessings that the ―Church Triumphant,‖ the Saints in heaven have at their disposal.
For example, a woman had severe pain because of an inoperable stomach tumor, such that her doctors gave her no hope of survival. A Miraculous Medal that had touched the deceased body of St. Mother Teresa was prayerfully placed on her stomach by a friend. The woman promptly fell asleep. When she woke up her pain was completely gone. When the doctors examined her, they found that her tumor was completely gone! Sci-entifically, it was inexplicable.
The Saints in heaven share in the full property of the Lord because they had intimately united themselves to Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church on earth, and thus have been perfectly
purified through their good works, worship, trials and suffering, so to enter the fullness of heaven, the ―Church Triumphant.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that the opposite is true
Those who say, “My Master is delayed in coming” and begin to beat the servants, to eat and drink and get drunk, will be surprised when the Lord Jesus comes unexpectedly and assigns them to “a place of the unfaithful.” In that place they will be severely punished forever and ever, and that is what God calls Hell.
Hell exists for those who do not repent of their mortal sins and seek God’s holiness. They did not take the Lord Jesus Christ and his Catholic Church’s teachings seriously, nor did they believe that their soul goes on forever either with God by his saving grace, or away from God in hell – since they neither made a perfect act of contrition, nor a good confession, before dying.
But what about purgatory?
Christ tells us, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This is difficult! Jesus created purgatory out of mercy for us. It is a place of temporary punishment for unrepented venial sins, and for venial and mortal sins already confessed and for-given but not fully remitted through penance, to be purified from one’s soul. Thus, Jesus said:“That servant who knew his Master’s will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely. And the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly.” See Luke, 12:40-48. We are responsible for growing in our faith to avoid the purifying pains of purgatory, and we want to enliven the faith of our family and friends to pray for us when we die, for perfection is far beyond where most of us are at.
Jesus teaches us the reality of Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory, out of perfect love for us
Christ teaches us that the Saints in heaven, the ―Church Triumphant,‖ can help us who are battling as the ―Church Militant.‖ And when you know your Catholic faith well enough and are sufficiently holy to be detached from all sin, you can help a soul in purgatory (the ―Suffering Church‖) by applying a plenary indulgence to release that soul into heaven.
When anybody asks you why Catholics still believe in Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, tell them that is what Jesus taught his 12 Apostles, and why he spent 40 days in the desert overcoming the devil’s temptations by prayer, fasting and quoting the Bible.
Hopefully, this will remind you to ask them to read the Gospel of Luke 12:40+ where Jesus describes the Church Triumphant in Heaven, the Church Suffering in Purgatory, and the Church Militant: the one Church which is overcoming the powers of hell by living Jesus Christ’s divine plan of salvation. Believing our Catholic faith, and living it, can bring divine peace and security into our lives, our families, and our world.
Peace in Christ, Fr. Thomas McCabe