Friendship or Fire and Brimstone

El Greco Christ blessing croppedFor the third time in ten days of gospel readings at Holy Mass, we hear the Lord Jesus give us this warning:

On the day of judgment, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for those who reject the Gospel.

The Lord Jesus Christ offers the Gospel, and is Himself the Gospel.

Our pilgrim lives in this world make sense when we make Christ’s triumph over death the central fact of all our thinking.  He lives, and He gives eternal life.  He gives us His life by drawing us into an ever-more-intimate friendship with Him.  He makes great demands as a friend.  Also, His friendship offers us the only true peace we can find, and the only truly enduring joy.

The people of Sodom lived in a darkness of crushing moral ignorance.  They lacked clear principles to guide their lives; they had received no education in discernment and self-restraint; and they had no true religion, and no grace and mercy from on high to help them.  They fell into grave evils, and they deserved condemnation for it.  After all, deep down, we all know right from wrong.

But the people of Sodom did not have what we have.  They did not have the hand of God extended to them, in the flesh, like we do.

The more intimate we grow with Christ, the more He demands of us morally.  He raises His standards for us.  Intimacy with Him means we will face a more rigorous judgment.

But it also means having a Friend Who makes this whole burden light.  It means interior joy and peace more profound and delightful than any fleeting self-indulgence.  It means a life of love—love that shuns sin, most of all because it is boring.  Boring and beneath the notice of a friend of God’s.

The incarnate Son of God offers us His friendship.  Let’s take Him up on it.  It is a million times harder, and ten million gazillion times more fun and rewarding, than any of the alternatives.

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