Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 5th and 6th
“Through the gospel I preached you are also being saved”
A lot of non-Catholics ask “when were you saved?” The correct answer is “I am in the process of being saved.” That is why Saint Paul uses that phrase here, and why Matthew 25 shows that God’s judgment rests on the works that we do that flow from our Faith, and not simply because at some date I decided to accept Jesus into my heart and make Jesus my personal Lord and Savior.
Jesus even warns “not all who call me Lord will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who DOES the Will of My Father.”
This “potentially being saved” is not God holding a sword over us ready to pounce – it simply is the Truth….because of free will, I am always able to walk away from God at any point up to the moment of death.
To believe at any point in my life my salvation is guaranteed, is simply wrong.
There are two opposite temptations, depending on our personality and temperament. One temptation is to think our salvation is guaranteed. The opposite temptation for others, given their personality and temperament is to fall into despair that they are not saveable.
Neither of those is correct for a Catholic. Hope is the belief that God can and wants to save me through the Catholic Church and Her Sacraments…that if I commit some huge sin, God’s mercy is always waiting in the confessional, that the Body and Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist changes me more and more into God’s likeness each time I receive him.
Saint Paul tells the Philippians to “work out their salvation”…this is a regular them of Saint Paul, and again we have it in our 2nd reading today…”through the Gospel I preached to you, you are being saved” Let us get to work on cooperating with God’s Grace and God’s Will, so that we may one day enter the eternal bliss of Heaven.