You serpents, generation of vipers, how will you flee from the judgment of hell?
You who are reading this might not be a "viper"… or even an asp… but this shows that Jesus thought hell existed and that it is very possible to go there.
Yes, folks, it is possible to go to hell.
As a matter of fact, it isn’t very hard at all.
Some will reject the merits of Christ, His offering to confirm us as heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is possible to kill the life of grace in the soul.
When you die, you will be judged with the first judgment by the Judge who is justice itself, but who is also mercy incarnate.
His judgment we will have whether we want it or not.
His mercy we must beg.
And He will give it swiftly.
When you go to confession and confess all your mortal sins in both number and kind, they are forgiven, removed from your soul, they are no more, they are taken away.
Though your sins be as red as scarlet, they will be made as white as snow.
Again, they are taken away by the Blood of the Lamnb. They are not merely covered over, or set aside or over looked, as the deadly error of the Protestants has it.
When you sins are forgiven by a priest with valid orders and faculties to absolve they are no more and will never be held against you at your judgment.
"… et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis…"
"… I absolve you from your sins…"
When was the last time your heard those words?
It may be that at death you will not have done adequate penance for the sins you committed and confessed and which were forgiven by Christ through the priest.
It may be that you have attachment for sins.
In this case, the mercy of God is even more beautifully extended to us.
Can we imagine a binary end of our lives? Either die in absolute perfection, having done all necessary penance and having no attachment to sin or, on the other hand, die with even the smallest imperfection and therefore passing to the eternity of hell, with its perpetual physical and spiritual agony?
And so God permits those who die in His friendship but with imperfections to be purified and cleansed of their final flaws so that, when the moment is right, the soul may pass into the bliss of heaven and the beatific vision… forever.
Once you are in hell, no one can vote you out.
But we can "vote" people out of the state of purgatory with our votive offerings and penances and into heaven by taking on some of their penance, by praying for them, by having Masses said.
We are in this together.
What was the last time you did penance or sought an indulgence or had a Mass said for someone who died or the souls in purgatory?
Imagine the first five seconds of heaven, the greetings given you by those whom you aided to enter more swiftly in to the presence of God, all luminous in the beatific vision.
Now imagine the the first five seconds of hell… the shock of realizing where you are.
When we do things for the least of Christ’s brethren, we do them for Christ. Souls of purgatory are also in need of your care.
During this long stretch of Sundays of Ordinary Time, of the Time after Pentecost, do not forget the basics of your Catholic identity.
We confess our sins regularly, because Catholics love God, fear hell and know neither the day no the hour of our death and judgment.
We do penance, especially on Fridays, because we Catholics pray for ourselves and others, especially the dead.