Reflection & Dialogue: The love and mercy of God. The Last Things

Today’s readings present ample opportunity for reflection and for dialogue within the Church of our own day, and with the world beyond it.

Reflection. The love and mercy of God. Peter’s successor was not very long in office when as Pope Francis he reminded the Church that we should reflect and speak much more about the love and them mercy of God than on certain specified current moral hotly debated topics. Today’s first reading and gospel make the very same point. They invite us to reflect on the matter. God is love and he loves all he has created. He is full of mercy for the human race and for each individual. Jesus still seeks out all that is lost, through his own presence, through the Holy Spirit, and through his faithful followers. It is only necessary to read and reread today’s readings to be convinced of this. How bear witness to these truths in our own day is a matter that can exercise our minds and consciences.

Dialogue with members of the Church and with those outside. The Last Things – death, judgment, hell and heaven. The second reading today reminds us that we are drawing near the end of the church’s liturgical year. This is an apt time for clergy and laity to reflect on the Last Things. In Catholic Tradition the last things are Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven. Not too many in our own day are anxious to reflect on these truths, especially on death, which is the only certain one of these for believer and unbeliever alike. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraphs 1006-1065) treats of them as part of its consideration of the Apostles’ Creed.

Death. The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (paragraph 18) has a very deep and touching reflection on “the mystery of Death”, well worth reading and reflecting on. “It is in regard to death that man’s condition is most shrouded in doubt”.

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