— Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?
“Have you thought about what the Church calls your “particular judgment”? This is the eternal reckoning at the moment of our death, when each of our immortal souls will be judged based on how our life was lived in reference to Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1022). It is also the instant when God declares whether or not we will go to heaven — either immediately or after purification in purgatory — or to hell.
Thinking about death and our particular judgment may stir up feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and dread, which is why most us put off such thoughts, at least until we face a serious crisis or illness. But as the Church traditionally dedicates November to honoring the dead and praying for the souls in purgatory, it is a fitting time to reflect upon our own death. As we were reminded when first joining the Order: Tempus fugit. Memento mori. (Time flies. Remember death.)
We don’t know exactly what awaits us at death, but we can imagine what it might be like. First, though, consider what it won’t be like. Archbishop Fulton Sheen cautioned, ‘Do not think when you go before the judgment seat of God that you will argue a case. You will plead no extenuating circumstances, you will not ask for a new trial or a new jury; you will be your own judge! You will be your own jury. … God will merely seal our judgment.’
Our particular judgment will be ‘an evaluation of ourselves just as we really are.’
In that vein, I imagine my judgment day to be set in a dark movie theater, where I am completely alone. When the movie begins, I recognize my parents on the screen. My dad is pushing my mom in a wheelchair as she holds a baby, which I realize is me. My parents are bringing me home from the hospital. As the scenes unfold, the film doesn’t include every waking minute of each day — rather, it’s made up of interesting scenes that seem to have some deeper meaning.
The movie proceeds until I’m in the fifth grade. “This should be good,” I think. “I loved that time of life.” However, as the theater lights subtly rise, I peek behind me and see the figure of a woman. It appears to be Miss Seidler, my fifth grade teacher. She has a serious expression, and next to her is a boy wearing glasses and a T-shirt with an image of the 1964 World’s Fair. I get a queasy feeling.
On the screen I see the school basketball court. Our team is about to start practice. The camera pans to the sidelines and moves in for a close-up. It is me and the boy wearing glasses and the World’s Fair shirt. ‘Go away! We don’t want you on the team!’ The voice is mine. The film switches — I am not watching my life story anymore; I am watching the life of the boy with glasses. I remember now. His name is John.
I see John in a kitchen with his mother. He is crying because of my harsh words. I feel awful about what I am watching. I want the film to stop, but it goes on, and I know there is worse to come. After all, this is just one incident among many throughout my life in which I acted selfishly, put another person down, or let anger, ambition, greed or concupiscence sway my thoughts and behavior.
It is unsettling to think about my particular judgment in this way. But I must remember that I will be judged by the One who is both just and merciful. There will be no cries of ‘that’s not fair!’ My actions will judge themselves. Jesus, the masterful film editor, will be there to fast-forward the film to show me how I amended my life, as well as where I still came up short. Moreover, all the sins I confessed and received forgiveness for in the sacrament of reconciliation have been wiped away; they will not even appear on the judgment screen of my life. Jesus, the just judge, will be there with his mercy, sifting out the weeds of my life that grew along with the wheat — and it is my great and only hope that he will bring me home to heaven.”
You can find the link to the entire story written by Michael Amodei (a member of K of C Council 553 in South Bend, IN and an executive editor at Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame) at IWKnights9981.com/bulletin, facebook.com/IWknights9981 or twitter.com/IWknights and in the Friday Flocknotes..
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