Two Roads

14th Sunday after Pentecost
Beloved in Christ,[i] in the year 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized St. Faustina Kowalska. St. Faustina was granted many visions by the Lord, some of which are written down in her diary. In one place, she writes this: ‘One day I saw two roads. One was wide, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music, and all sorts of pleasures. People walked along it dancing and enjoying themselves. They reached the end of the road and suddenly there was a horrible precipice – that is, the abyss of hell. They fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell. Their numbers were so great that it was impossible to count them.
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This is a vision that the Lord gave to her. It is unsettling. But the vision has another part. She goes on: ‘I saw another road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; people who walked along it were suffering. Some fell down on the rocks, but got back up and went on. At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with happiness, and when they entered there, at the first instant they forgot all their sufferings.
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Friends in the Lord, there are two roads in life. A road that requires effort – that road leads to happiness. The other road is one of foolish pleasure – that ends in hell. St. Faustina saw this in her vision, but the Lord said it to us long ago in the Holy gospels: ‘Try to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.’ ‘Wide is the road that leads to destruction, many enter through it. ’ It is quite evident from the Holy Scriptures, that many people are not going to make it to heaven.
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In the gospel today, Our Lord reminds us that there are only two ways. ‘No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.’
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Some have read the Second Vatican Council of the Church as saying that everyone is saved – but actually, there are some strong warnings: it warns that ‘very often, people are deceived by the Evil One and exchange the truth of God for a lie.’ Then it says…. regarding Catholics especially, that if they who have heard the gospel fail to respond in word, and deed to God’s grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be more severely judged. (LG 14)
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Friends, so many times in the gospels Our Lord warns about the coming judgment. The sheep will be separated from the goats. The righteous from the unrighteous. The weeds separated from the wheat. ‘And the Son of man will send his angels and they will gather out of his kingdom all evildoers and throw them into the furnace of fire.’
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Christ tells us these things not because this is how things have to be; or that this is how he wants them to be. He tells us this simply because he knows it to be this way.
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In 2 Thessalonians 2:1 we are told that in the final conflict, before the End, the restraint on evil will be removed. Has this already happened? Some feel that it has, with the crescendo of evil and the mass apostasy taking place.
When he visited the United States in 1976, the future John Paul II gave an address at the Eucharistic Congress: ‘We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced…I do not think that the Christian Community realizes this fully…we are facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist….’ Many are noticing what is happening, yet in the midst of this people are dancing on, as if the Titanic is just fine.
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A lady recently said, ‘Father, I think the Lord is very merciful, so he will let everyone into heaven.’ I asked her, ‘Have you ever read the Holy Gospels?!  For sure the Lord is merciful – every day he gives us a new chance to turn from our sins and follow him, to begin again. This whole life is full of second chances! There’s his mercy.
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But in so many places in the scriptures, we are warned that actions have consequences. Today in his Letter to the Galatians St. Paul says that those who live an immoral life will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. He says this again in his letter to the Corinthians: ‘Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those practicing homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, will inherit the kingdom of heaven.
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Satan’s big lie is to convince us, that the only people who go to hell are members of ISIS or mass-murderers. St. Faustina was given a vision of hell. she describes the horror of the place and so many people there; then she says, ‘I noticed one thing: most of those who were there, did not believe that there is a hell.’ Satan’s favorite trick, is to convince us that the road to heaven is wide and easy. He creates his lies out of a little truth: he takes the truth of God’s mercy and creates the lie that mercy means ‘just live as you please and God will let you into heaven.’
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But getting into heaven is not like a game, as if you can just find a way to win the prize. Heaven is like getting married, it’s a nuptial union with the most wonderful Person, with your Creator, with your Beloved.
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So if there was a great and wonderful man – and a lady said, I hope to get married to him, but she never cared about him, and lived her life more interested in others; if she became a lazy, indecent person – Well – getting married to that great man would be ridiculous. She would not even be happy with such a good man, because her wicked life is so different from his. Heaven is not like winning a game; it is like getting married to God, and so we must live our life for him.
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But if our sins cause us to be discouraged, let us seek the help of the Blessed Virgin. She is always wishing to help us, to keep trying. Blessed Raymond Jordano says, Mary is God’s treasure; he who finds her, finds every good, and everyone can find her, even the most miserable sinner in the world.
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[Entrusted to the prayers of St. Mary Magdalene]

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[i] Some ideas and quotes are from the pamphlet by Ralph Martin, ‘The Final Confrontation.’

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