If we are to understand hell as the place of the unfaithful, it follows that there is a place other than heaven and hell where souls go to receive either severe or light beating. This place is what the church calls purgatory. As the Catechism puts it: “Purgatory is the final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.” (CCC 1030-1031) This purification is done so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.

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When we get there, we too shall say like Peter that “it is wonderful to be here.” There is more to life than what meets the eyes. There is more to existence than what we can verify. If God were to open our eyes like He did with Peter, James, and John or even Daniel as we saw in today’s first reading, we would never for once doubt His existence again. So, let us not get discouraged by suffering, pain, and hardship now. No matter what we have to give up now for Christ’s sake, heaven is worth it.

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If your conscience is clear, you have no reason whatsoever to be living in fear. If it is not your time, nothing, nothing in heaven or on earth can kill you. You will walk on water and you will not sink. You will pass through fire and it will be cold. Your enemies will set different traps for you and you will scale through like breeze. Fear Not.

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Whatever may have caused the priest and the Levite to pass this man by, Jesus did not tell us but Jesus only mentioned that they failed to help the man. When it comes to helping the needy, no excuse is valid. Think of this, that person you see in need of your help today may just be your last chance. He or she may have been sent your way to test you. Do not keep on till tomorrow what you can do today. One thing that tends to prevent us from helping others is bitterness. You may have been hurt in the past, perhaps in your attempt to be kind to others, they repaid your good with evil, and so on. Remember, that person may just be you and you too would expect someone to help you. As Moses tells us in our first reading, we don’t need somebody to go to heaven to bring down God’s commandments, they are right in our hearts. Listen to your heart. Follow your conscience. Help, don’t hinder. Go and do like the Samaritan.

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Where is your eye? In other words, where are your treasures? What are your priorities? If your eye is on what this world has to offer, then as Jesus says, your eye is unhealthy and your body is full of darkness. This explains why people get involved in all kinds of evil and are prepared to do anything just to “make it big” in this world. If your only goal in life is to “have a lot of cars and houses that you wouldn’t know which one is which” then watch out for darkness in your thoughts, words, and deeds.

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Don’t be an actor – be a Christian. And you would know if you are Christian or not when you are provoked, humiliated, and insulted by others. The way a person behaves when they are angry reveals their true color; it is very difficult to pretend when you are angry. Jesus tells us today that anyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment, anyone who insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and anyone who says ‘you fool’ liable to the hell of fire.

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Happiness on earth may be limited but the happiness above is totally unlimited. If we do not experience happiness as we so desire, let us not give up on God or attempt to seek happiness in sin. The devil cannot give what he does not have; it may seem as if we are enjoying for a while but soon it dawns on us that we have been deceived. Child of God, sorrow may last in the night but joy comes in the morning. Never Give up on God!

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We live in a troubled world. Just glimpse at the pages of our newspapers. Go online to see what is trending in our nation or even around the world, and you cannot but agree that humanity is troubled. Jesus perfectly understands our troubled situation and seeks to console us. Last Sunday, we heard Jesus say: “I shall not be with you much longer… I give you a new commandment, love one another just as I have loved you.” (John 13:33-35). Jesus makes us understand that if we love one another as he loved us, our world would be less troubled. Today, Jesus says to us: “Peace I give to you; not as the world gives… let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27). While we face troubles from the world around us in the form of persecution, injustice, and hatred by those who do not know God, let us bear in mind that the peace of Jesus is not of this world. It is a peace that comes with knowing that we are just pilgrims on our way home.

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Brothers and sisters, there is no easy ticket to heaven. Being circumcised will not guarantee salvation. If there is anything that assures us of eternal life, it is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary. “When I am lifted up, I will draw all men to myself,” says Jesus. Nevertheless, faith in the sacrifice of Jesus without corresponding works on our part is useless. St. James would say, faith without works is dead.

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How can we possibly accept the many tribulations that are part of the road to heaven? The only solution is for us to have this inner peace. Peace of mind is such a vital ingredient for us to move successfully on this road to heaven. When we have this peace, nothing is difficult for us.

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On the other hand, for Jesus to say that John the Baptist is not as great as the least person in heaven, clearly indicates that heaven is not an easy place. It means I must do my very best to live a good life. No wonder Jesus asserted in Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able.”

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Jesus asked Peter to get a shekel from a fish in the sea. Jesus, not minding his double citizenship (being God and Man) still obeyed the law. Is it not a great contradiction that while we Christians obey the civil authorities just to maintain our status as double citizens in foreign nations, we complain about keeping God’s commands?

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