Eternal salvation

August 29, 2021

Today’s Psalm reminds us that the man or woman who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord. Justice in this case is meant not just in the restricted sense of granting someone what is legally due to them, although it also means that. Rather it is meant in the sense in which justice has to do with complete goodness, wholesomeness in actions and conducts. In this case, to be just is simply to be good, to be virtuous. It is based upon this understanding of justice as goodness that Saint Joseph, the husband of our Blessed Mother Mary and foster father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is often referred to as a just man; in the same way as James the Less, one of the twelve disciples and son of Alphaeus, is referred to as a just man. Their goodness consisted in the fact that both were outstanding men of virtues and sterling human qualities. To be a Christian is to seek to be like them, to be good. It means to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer. It means to be kind and compassionate to the less privileged, such as the widow and the orphan, as we hear in today’s second reading. It means to shun a life of hypocrisy, to live truthfully and honestly, neither tolerating nor promoting lies or deceit. As we heard in today’s first reading, through the mouth of Moses, statutes such as the above are given by the Lord for our own salvation, given in order that we may enter and possess the land. For the Israelites at the time of the Mosaic covenant, the purpose of the statues was for them to inherit the Promised Land. But for us, the people of the new covenant, the goal is eternal life with God in heaven. Either way, to follow these ordinances is synonymous with living in the presence of the Lord; and to live in His presence means unfailing security, not necessarily from temporal harm, but as an assurance of eternal salvation. Each day, life presents us with numerous choices out of which we must decide what we think is best for us: To live justly and in a manner that is pleasing to God, or live a life that satisfies only our selfish wants and desires. Whichever choice we end up making, there are always consequences. We pray that God may grant us the spirit of wisdom and good counsel as we struggle each day against the forces of evil, and that His grace may enable us to do what is pleasing to Him. Amen.

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