15 Dec 2019

This Week Letter – December 15, 2019

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3rd Sunday of Advent
How do you enter heaven?

“Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt 11:11)

This sentence ought to be reflected upon by many Christians.  Although St. John the Baptist was already filled with the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of St. Elizabeth and called to a special mission, he is considered less than “the least in the kingdom of heaven.”  How great must be the quality of purification and sanctification of those who enter there!  Jesus’ statement places a question deep in the heart of every person:  “Is the state of my life sufficient in light of such criteria?”   Even though Jesus’ statement puts before us a picture of the new spirituality of Jesus’ gift of humanity’s redemption in the New Testament, different from the one preached by John the Baptist, His very strong statement about the last Old Testament prophet ought to be taken seriously.  St. Paul warns “seek your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil 2:12)

We must see the greatness of Jesus’ gift and accept its infinity with all our hearts.  This is the salvation given to us and paid for with the sacrifice of the life of the King of the Universe, the Lord of life!  The mystery of redemption conceals the truth about our ability to enter the Father’s heavenly Kingdom.  Jesus clearly says, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6)  Only through Him!  Only in Him!  Only for Him!  Who, then, will enter His kingdom?    There are several important indications in the Bible; let us treat the following selected passages as a meditative homework assignment for the third week of Advent:


  • One who “does the will of my Father” will enter Heaven. (Mt 7:21)


  • One who has allowed God to “draw him toward holiness”. (Ex 22:30; Jn 6:4)


  • One whose heart has been cleansed by God from evil and pride. (Lk 13:22-30; Rom 12:21)


Roman Harmata, PA