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The Light of Judgment

The Light of Judgment

We finish the liturgical year with a warning, preparing us now for the moment when we will see God face-to-face.

Reading: Luke 21:34-36

The following homily was preached to the student brothers at compline. You can listen here or read below:

“Pray that you may have the strength to escape all these things and to stand before the Son of Man.”

This is how Luke’s Gospel finishes Jesus’ teaching ministry and how we finish the liturgical year. Not with joy, not with triumph, but with a warning. The last occasion of Jesus’ preaching looks forward to the next. Christ will come again as judge. Will we be ready?

How could we possibly be ready to meet The Lord as Judge, let alone to stand before Him? But we know we will stand before Christ, at our judgment, and the stakes could not be higher.

At the climax of Newman’s Poem, the Dream of Gerontius, the soul of Gerontius, awaiting judgment, is taken to meet God. He arrives at the silence before His presence, and he gazes at God for an instant. He cannot bear it. He begs his Guardian Angel, “Take me away! Take me away!”

Here, God’s judgment is nothing more than standing before Him, seeing him as He really is. It is not God judging us, but in the light and clarity of His presence, He lets us judge ourselves. In this understanding, seeing God face-to-face and being judged by Him are the same thing. What distinguishes them is whether we embrace God or flee from Him.

Something similar will happen when Jesus comes at the end of time.

Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves. We know that we will not be able to hide anything from Him, or from each other, or from ourselves. The moment when we stand before Christ, is the moment we will know ourselves most fully: we will know ourselves as He knows us.

Christ will come again as Judge. Will we be ready?

We don’t need to wait for our deaths or for the end of time to know whether we will be ready, and what the outcome will be. We can decide that for ourselves, now. The only way we can stand with confidence before him then, is if we say yes to his will now. Today. If we do this, then we can open up the vast reaches of eternal life here and now and until we stand before the Son of Man forever in the joy of Heaven.

Br George Dominic was raised in Staffordshire, where he first encountered the Order through the Dominican sisters in his hometown, Stone. Before going to university, he worked as organ scholar at Gloucester Cathedral and studied the organ in Toulouse, where he came upon sites associated with the early days of Order. Long attracted to the priesthood, it was during his time in France that he began to consider a vocation to the Order of Preachers. His religious vocation was spurred when he met Dominicans as a student at the University of Cambridge, where he studied Music and was organ scholar at Clare College, and he entered the noviciate after graduating in 2022. He is particularly inspired by St John Henry Newman and Pope Benedict XVI.
george.gillow@english.op.org

Comments (3)

  • John Woodhouse

    Love the reference to the Dream of Gerontius

    reply
  • Sterling sorrell

    praise and thanks to Cambridge

    reply
  • Father Michael Tate PP

    Quintessential English Dominican— simple clear language conveying profound truth. I will certainly use it, though perhaps without attribution!

    reply

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