In our message series, “Common Sense,” we are reviewing the reasons to follow Christ’s teachings. One important reason is that it leads to eternal life. Here is our companion article on why seeking life everlasting makes good sense.
Every time we pray the Nicene Creed, we end with the words “...and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” If you’re anything like me, saying the Nicene Creed sometimes feels like a reflex; muscle memory, if you will. I don’t always fully engage while saying the words. But it is our entire faith summarized into about three paragraphs, which is especially incredible when you consider the centuries of written, oral, and practical tradition that are responsible for our contemporary Catholic beliefs.
And, those ending words are some of the most important in our faith tradition: as Catholics, we believe in life after death, where we will enter into full communion with Jesus Christ in heaven. We will be welcomed into everlasting life at Jesus’s second coming, as explained in Chapter 25 of Matthew’s gospel, but only if we have lived for others as Christ did.
People will be sorted as “sheep” and “goats” — the sheep having fed a hungry Jesus, satisfied a thirsty Jesus, clothed a naked Jesus, visited a prisoner Jesus, welcomed a stranger Jesus, and cared for an ill Jesus. The goats will have done none of these. Both groups will ask Jesus when they were supposed to have done these things — the sheep protesting that they had done no such thing, and the goats protesting that they never saw Jesus in these capacities.
And Jesus will say to the sheep, “‘Amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” Likewise, he will say to the goats, “‘Amen I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me’” (Matthew 25:40,45).
Our eternal life is not guaranteed. We must live as disciples of Christ in all that we do, say, and believe. For every kindness, act of compassion, moment of mercy or forgiveness, we show the world what it means to be a follower of Christ. Unfortunately, the times of our human failings also reflect back onto Christ.
In Chapter 5 of his gospel, Matthew reminds us: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? . . . You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. . . . Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:13-16).
As Christians, we will fulfill the Nicene Creed; we will be sorted into the righteous at the second coming; we are the light of the world; we are the salt of the Earth. The life that we profess each week at Mass is within our control, shaped by our actions and inactions — but in living lives of Christ, we will be glorified.
—Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
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