In the Gospel today, Jesus clearly says there is hell and he describes it as the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. If Jesus said this, how can we believe what many say that there is no hell and that everyone will go to heaven? When we hear people say this, we need to stop and think who we want to believe. Those who say there is no hell or that everyone will go to heaven, may give a good argument that will not offend us, but that is not the truth. When it comes to faith and morals, we need to decide on who we want to believe. Should I believe in a popular preacher or do I believe in Jesus Christ? We need to choose wisely on whom we want to believe because our eternal destiny depends on it.
St Peter Chrysologus was a bishop of Ravenna in the 5th century and when he took over, there were a lot of pagans or lapsed Catholics. He preached the word of truth and the faith was revived. Why? Because God’s Truth is beautiful and attractive. People may not like it, it may offend, but it attracts people.
If I believe there is no hell, or that I will go to heaven even if I live whatever and however I want, then I do not need to strive for holiness. There is no point in allowing God to change me, just as what he revealed to Jeremiah in the First Reading. God showed Jeremiah that the potter reworks the clay when the vessel he wants to produce is spoiled. God does this because he wants us to live with him for eternity and the only way to this is for him to form and re-form us into his image. We cannot live with God unless we conform to his image. This is not achieved by our own effort, but is achieved by allowing God to form us: just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. Holiness is achieved not through our effort. It is achieved by coming before God, allowing him to do to us as he wills.
It does not matter what your past is. If you are living in regret of something you have done in the past, if you feel like you are living in hell right now, turn to the Lord and let him form that life into something new. No one can help you, except God through Jesus Christ. The Psalm today says Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth: on that very day, their plans perish. Only God can help you, the God who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them. Turn to the Lord and have new life. Do not be afraid.
Lord, let me believe your word. I have trusted in mortals who cannot save me. I have believed in their opinions rather than your Truth. I surrender my life to you. Take and form it according to your will. St Peter Chrysologus, lead me to know the Truth of Jesus.