Wednesday of the 4th Week of Easter
Just before the death of actor W.C. Fields, a friend visited him in his hospital room and was surprised to find him thumbing through a Bible. His friend asked him what he was doing with the Bible, Fields replied, “I’m looking for loopholes.”
We are taught that at the end of our existence where we are going to face Jesus as our Judge, we are going to give an account of ourselves. An account of how we used the precious years of our lives. To borrow the words of students it will be our final exam. On the last day, the words of Jesus, His call to love with Gospel love, will become the measure against which our lives are measured, the question which will constitute the last great examination of our lives. This is because as Jesus says in today’s gospel: “Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day,” (v. 48). In other words, Jesus is Savior and nothing else. As it is stated in the 365 Days with the Lord 2007 that disobedience to His word has natural consequences. His word is like a spiritual sunlight. To turn one’s back on it entails blindness. No punishment is involved, not even judgment on the part of Jesus, since he neither judges nor condemns. His word merely states impersonally the requirements for living in light. And so we have to take Jesus seriously through His words.
To put this concretely how these words of Jesus judge us, St. John of the Cross exclaimed: “I will be examined on love!” It is because all of us Christians, our final judgment will be a looking back at every moment, weighing them on the scale of love, seeing them in the light of the demands of love. We are judged based on love. Are we ready to be examined on love if that exam were to take place today? What do we need to do in order to be ready? I think the following suggestions from a Protestant pastor can help us:
1. God won’t ask what kind of fancy car you drove. He will ask how many people you took to church who didn’t have transportation.
2. God won’t ask the square footage of your house. He will ask how many people you helped who didn’t have a house.
3. God won’t ask how many fancy clothes you had in your closet. He will ask how many of those clothes you gave away to those who don’t have.
4. God won’t ask what social class you were in. He will ask what kind of “class” you displayed.
5. God won’t ask how many material possessions you had. He will ask whether those material possessions dictated your life.
6. God won’t ask what your highest salary was. He will ask if you trampled over any people to obtain that salary.
7. God won’t ask how much overtime you worked. He will ask did you work overtime for your family.
8. God won’t ask how many promotions you took to chase a dollar bill. He will ask how many promotions you refused to advance your family’s quality of life.
9. God won’t ask about the color of your skin. He will ask about the color of your heart.
10. God won’t ask how many times your deeds matched your words. He will ask how many times they didn’t.