Culture

An Abundance Of Hell?

Bear with me, friends. Here in its entirety was the Gospel reading, the longer version, in Catholic Churches this past Sunday.

Jesus proposed another parable to the crowds, saying: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”

He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet: I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house. His disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”

He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels. Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

On my tour Up North I have been church hopping. The place is not important. The deacon gave the homily, which started, “When I read that Gospel, what struck me was God’s abundance.”

Abundance?

“God just doesn’t give enough, he gives too much. In abundance.”

Words about joy, plenty, goods for the taking and the like. Went on for ten, twelve minutes. Joel Osteen could have given the same speech. Osteen for the same effort would have had a bigger gate, though. Because of the fear of coronadoom the church put the collection basket by the door, into which parishioners were supposed to show their abundance as they exited. If they remembered.

In any case, I ask you, dear reader, is that what struck you when you read this passage? Abundance? The peroration was:

The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.

Not everybody has ears for that. David Bentley Hart has a new and ingenious way around the obvious implications of these words, but to get there he had to bend his own translation of scripture, so that (something like) will didn’t mean will (in this, Gorsuch is his brother). Even Hart didn’t opt for abundance as his escape mechanism.

It’s not the fear of Hell that causes us these days to not only to reject the notion of eternal damnation, but to be offended by it. Not offended by Hell, the place, but by those with the poor taste to mention that some are on their way to that disquieting location.

It’s also not that people—and here I speak of professing people of The Book—don’t think Hell doesn’t exist. Denizens might include Hitler, Satan, and, in his time, Trump. But never ourselves and our own. We are nice people. Besides, how can anybody go to Hell when we are equal to God?

Ed Feser just reviewed Plato’s Republic. We are now, according to Plato, at one step from the bottom, at Democracy, the worst state next to tyranny. A prime and essential characteristic of Democracy is Equality (the quotations below are Plato).

Democracy on Plato’s account is characterized by the “diversity of its characters” and “treats all men as equal, whether they are equal or not.” In particular, it treats all ways of life as equal, no matter how puerile, irrational, or immoral.

The young “throw off all inhibitions” and celebrate “insolence, license, extravagance, and shamelessness.” They flit faddishly from one activity to another. At one moment they will pursue “wine, women, and song,” and at the next “water to drink and a strict diet”; a keen interest in “hard physical training” might give way to “indolence and careless ease”; today they will devote themselves to philosophical study, tomorrow politics, and the day after that business. If anyone tries to tell them that some desires are bad and should be suppressed, they “won’t listen,” but insist that “all pleasures are equal and should have equal rights.”…

…Democratic man insists on “complete equality and liberty in the relations between the sexes,” and on drawing “no distinction between alien and citizen and foreigner.” Plato tells us that license is extended even to domestic animals, who freely roam the streets of the democratic city.

We are one step beyond Eve and believe we we are like gods. Gods cannot be judged by other gods. Gods sometimes suffer setbacks and pain, but only in limited form. Gods war with gods. But there is no lasting punishment, nothing eternal. We have no need of forgiveness, because gods set their own moral rules. We do know good and evil, but it our wills that create the distinction.

Democracy thus extends to Heaven and earth. Hell isn’t even for other people.

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Categories: Culture

31 replies »

  1. At Mass yesterday our Indian priest held forth on the same Gospel reduced only to the good and bad seed part. These words inspired him to discuss agricultural weed control methodology in India, the USA and during Our Lord’s time.

  2. Abundance? Not from the passage, no. In reality, probably yes. At least at the current point in time. It’s why we are losing to evil–abundance creates the avenue for evil to enter. Not to say success is wrong, or starvation good, but evil thrives where people have no wants.

    The Left creates their own hell here for anyone who disagrees with them, as do dictator/“gods”, which is what the Left now believes itself to be and probably is. They have no concept of afterlife because they are too busy shafting everyone, burning, torturing, looting, in this world, generally from behind their walled castles. Why would they believe in Hell in an afterlife when they create it here on earth? Why worry about eternal punishment when you’re torturing and killing here with impunity? It’s your own personal heaven on earth. Evil never considers an afterlife–it simply CANNOT. It would never flourish if it did. Denial is the hallmark of evil from day one in the Garden of Evil. Nothing has changed.

  3. More evidence of the inanity of the Vatican 2 religion. Better to stick with the traditional Latin Mass.

  4. Me thinks that the deacon was conflating these parables with the Parable of the Sower

    As for the “wheat and tares”? my take is slightly unorthodox, not that there are good people and evil people in the world (The Master’s field) but that there are good thoughts and evil thoughts in our brains (another of the Master’s fields). (I think Jesus was “messing” with us in His interpretation by giving the most obvious interpretation to the laziest of us – I can’t believe these parables don’t go any deeper than that. I see Fractals everywhere in the Bible)

    As Solzhenitzyn famously said: “If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

    The Bible talks about doing just that, circumcise our hearts
    Putting the fire in perspective, Corinthians puts our “foundations” through the fire and reveals what is left. (Catholic concept of Purgatory?)

    Even the parable of the sower, I drill down to one single person, God constantly and throughout our lives “wasting His seed” as it were, until finally (hopefully) we push through the rock, weeds, and the roots tap in to permanence.

  5. My sympathies on the NONightmare. The NO is a soul killer. Intentionally. The poor souls that retain the faith while bearing it do so in spite of it through heroic effort.

    The ONLY good thing that has come out of the CovidTyranny, given my personal Mass access, is that with the semi-permanent dispensation I feel no obligation whatsoever to go to a NO Mass when I can’t get to a TLM.

    For those in liturgical wastelands, the approach doesn’t work because then you have to find some way to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament to just keep your soul from starving.

    But for me, in general, I have the TLM. When due to travel I can’t get one within about an hour drive or so, given the dispensation from my mitre wearing wolf, I go the home alone route.

    The NO is a soul killer. The only way to weather it is to as much as possible block it out while praying intensely to try to prepare for communion. No easy feat given the circus atmosphere. Not having to bear it has been a blessing.

  6. No condemnation on my part, I’m sure it’s just one man’s opinion, Just found it interesting and answered my questions about NO and TLM. God has a long reach

  7. Dr Briggs – thank you for linking to the Feser article – what a excellent read – I liked this one best:
    “The same is true, he says, of a preoccupation with pleasure seeking, which inclines a soul toward “frenzy and excess” and “violence and indiscipline,” and he warns that this is especially true of sexual pleasure.
    The culture of a healthy society must accordingly celebrate reason, beauty, goodness, and restraint. The improper formation of character yields what Plato calls “misology” or hatred of rational discourse, generating citizens with “no use for reasoned discussion, and an animal addiction to settle everything by brute force.”
    The applicability to modern American pop culture is obvious, and only the details need updating. The walls of Plato’s cave have been replaced with cell phones streaming Netflix and pornography, and misology now manifests itself in Twitter mobs and “cancel culture” rather than the executioner’s hemlock (for the moment, anyway).”

  8. I was out removing weeds from my crop (not wheat, but you get the idea) and it occurred to me that if you literally follow the parable, you starve to death unless in Biblical times they has a different species of wheat and much weaker weeds. Everyone who ever gardens knows one crop can suffocate another, and weeds will drain the soil of nutrients, killing your crop. In the end, God has no separation job to do. All that remains is evil (weeds). I have never found good to be stronger than evil in this world. If it was, we would not be having this discussion, we’d still be in the Garden of Eden. So, there must be another interpretation. The weeds have to go if you want to eat and I doubt Christ was advocating starving to death.

  9. Hope you guys won’t mind the link, since just last week I finished the essay on Hell, Hell As Gift.

    TLDR: As we know Him, so we have Him. At the moment of our death, without the possibility of prevarication, we will get exactly what we want, good and hard:

    “‘If we deny him, he also will deny us’ [2 Tim 2:12] is a far more certain way to think about Hell, than a metaphor of a wrathful yet somehow also merciful God who definitely requires eternal satisfaction for mortal sin, but who also definitely doesn’t require that at all, if we’re sorry.”

  10. Kathleen is correct IRT the Novus Ordo Missae being a soul killer. Find a Tridentine (Latin) Mass and you will hear the truth, especially from the Fraternal Society of St. Pius X, who were the only order to continue to have public Mass during the lockdown, and are the only reason that there is still a true Catholic Mass today.

  11. I especially liked the quote from Plato which demonstrates that human
    nature hasn’t changed much, every generation has it’s self absorbed
    youth floundering for some external self righteous cause to lend meaning
    to existence. After the hangover and court date they eventually come
    to their senses and realize they’ve been swept up in a sea of lemmings and
    unicorns to be dashed on the rock bound shore. Political mendacity fueled
    by the haunted and clueless phantom of youth. The current iteration waxes
    feckless and dis-gendered with twenty years of austerity on it’s plate.

  12. There’s always the hair shirt…
    I have a hare shirt (jumper) because I like creature comforts
    It’s the animal in me

  13. I have noticed more and more at funerals, how the deceased is always spoken of – automatically assumed to be – in Heaven.
    I understand that this is done as a comfort to the decedent’s family, but when done by the clergy, especially priests – it is unsettling. It supports and legitimizes the notion that no one goes to Hell, except maybe Hitler.
    And it de-legitimizes our faith. Want to go to Heaven? Just be a good person, more or less. Jesus just came to be a loving, wise man – and die a horrendous death. He really didn’t mean all that He said, right? That would be….hurtful.

  14. Jerry brings to mind an (old) joke oft told during sermons

    The Evil Brother
    In a small town, there were two brothers who, over the course of many years, cheated, swindled, robbed and generally stole from everyone that they ever did business with.
    The entire town and surrounding community reviled and despised these two brothers as everyone was aware of just how disreputable and dishonest they were.
    One day, one of the brothers mysteriously died.
    Although they had never attended church, the one remaining brother went to the local pastor and offered vast sums of money if he would come to the funeral and say the appropriate words, AND, a large bonus, but ONLY if he would – during the course of the eulogy -refer to his brother as “a Saint.”
    The pastor was troubled by the request, however, it was a very poor church and the church desperately needed repairs.
    The Parishioners had heard about the pastor’s dilemma and were curious as to what he would do.
    The Funeral began, the church was packed, and the pastor started with the usual prayers and followed the rites and traditions as required by the churches teachings. In closing, after referring to the man in the box, he paused and turned to face the remaining brother.
    He began, “As you all know, the departed was an awful individual who robbed, cheated, swindled and stole from everyone he ever did business with.
    However, compared to his Brother, he was – “a Saint!”

  15. Then there’s the one where St Peter’s showing a man round heaven.
    He reaches a door but asks him to keep his voice down
    “SShh, Only the Catholics think they’re the only ones here”

  16. In addition, Jerry, it deprives the departed of much needed prayers and penances if he, like I will be, is roasting in purgatory, or “getting assimilated” as Father Rutler once put it. Canonizing people at their funeral is a cruelty, and a dereliction of spiritual duty. I’ve let my family know very clearly not to let any spineless priest proclaim me in heaven at my funeral.

    Also, as others have pointed out, you were obviously in a NO mass. I realize that many folks are not able to assist at the TLM because of crappy bishops and priests who won’t make it available, even though they’re supposed to. But if at all possible, even if you have to drive for while, find a TLM and avoid the protestantized Frankenstein NO.

    Look at the USCCB’s own numbers regarding contraception, frequency of confession, belief in the real presence… among practicing “Catholics.” Staggering.

    The link between NO hippie pseudo liturgy and loss of faith is real.

    Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.

  17. Thank you for the link!!

    ?”NO” definition: Novos Ordo (a.k.a. mainstream) Catholics.

    “TLM” definition: Traditional Latin Mass.

    God keeps the balance that He allows, and the weeds are allowed to grow unto death, but the wheat grow into the fullness of life in Christ.

    The tares, the weeds, are more predominant than the wheat, as Jesus said here:”

    13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
    Matthew 7: 13-14.

    But God keeps those who are His, no matter the overspread of the tares weeds.
    All thanks be to Him.

    I definitely think that prayers in case the deceased is in Purgatory, which place is Catholic Dogma, ought to be prayed at the funeral and that prayers for the deceased ought to be asked to be prayed, on a daily basis, in case of need for the deceased. This reality may well help some who are present, to think deeply upon their own lives and the realities of Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell. It does for me!

    Jesus was definite in many places in the Gospels and in Revelation, that Hell is real. People are really going there. Why do they fully will to not receive Him as their Lord and Saviour and God???

    God bless, C-Marie

  18. The series of parables in Matt 13 tells about the end of the present age of Christ’s Church and the passing of the elect into the Kingdom of God on earth, the Kingdom of God’s Will. This is an epochal change, and therefore very dramatic.
    Matt 13: 43 “Then the righteous will shine like THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father.”
    The Lord Jesus to Luisa Piccarreta* [April 15, 1919]:
    >>I was fusing myself in the Holy Will of my always lovable Jesus, and together with my Jesus, my intelligence was wandering in the Work of Creation, adoring and thanking the Supreme Majesty for everything and for everyone.  And my Jesus, all affability, told me:  “My daughter, in creating the heavens, first I made the stars as minor spheres, and then I created the Sun as the major sphere, endowing It with so much light as to eclipse all the stars, as though hiding them within Itself, and constituting It king of the stars and of all nature.  It is my usual way to do minor things first, as preparation for greater ones – these, being the crowning of the minor things.  While being my relater, the Sun also conceals the souls who will form their sanctity in my Will; the Saints who lived in the mirror of my Humanity, as if in the shadow of my Will, will be the stars; the former souls, although coming later in time, will be THE SUNS.<<

    *https://luisapiccarreta.me/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Volume-12-Book-Web-2-18-16.pdf

  19. We’re a “democracy”?

    I doubt that.

    The left, in general, doesn’t tolerate all viewpoints and “life styles” and most certainly it doesn’t approve of all ideas and ways of doing things out there. There’s numerous examples of this like with leftists going nuts with persons wearing MAGA hats.

    The left tends towards more government control and over-restrictions on our freedom; and in more extreme cases, some of the left-wingers actually favor socialism or communism like with Bernie Sanders and AOC – a failed economic and political system that’s essentially totalitarian.

    Why do you think we have all the asinine censorship going on with google, facebook, twitter, youtube and other internet platforms? There’s nothing democratic about it; the problem is not too much tolerance. Maybe it can be better said that there’s too much tolerance on the wrong things at times but I wouldn’t say at large that we have “too much tolerance or liberty”. There’s a big attack going on here from silicon valley on free speech and the freedom to have good, accurate information and intelligent opinions available online.

    I think we have more division now than we have had in the past in terms of differing political viewpoints at least in the USA. And it’s not quite the case that most people think that any way of living or any set of opinions is okay or acceptable.

  20. Maybe this old article might be worth a read for the non brittle Christians:
    https://tosavealife.com/faith/inspiration/dear-church-heres-why-people-are-really-leaving-you
    Covid has a proved a lot of people wrong.
    The C of E has had a fourfold increase in attendance.

    Thank you John B! It makes a full circle to the story, too.

    That picture in the corner (to me) looks like one of Briggs old pictures which disturbed/s me, he’s used it more than .once. It also looks like the Hubble photo of the magenta cloud that looks similar

    I had a dress in the late nineties that colour in the medieval society which my mum made for me, as I started i, she suspected I wouldn’t finish it as smartly. *I made the covered buttons) it was made from old church curtains so you can imagine the colour and weight it was so heavy . Anyhow, in a fit of decisive determination (or when sad, I threw it away to the charity shop, thinking it would take the memory away but it didn’t. I feel as bad about the fact she made it too, but kept the others. It only had four seems. I’m going to tell her.

    Here’s the Hubble picture

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibwxzxER_pY

  21. One key to understanding this text is that tares, the weeds, are practically indistinguishable from wheat until just before harvest and the seed appears. Remember that the people of that time used broadcast seeding (scattering), so there were no neat rows to indicate wheat from tare.

  22. We are a Republic.

    And thank you for the “scattering information…”

    Came across this at: https://bible.org/seriespage/3-four-soils-matthew-131-23-mark-41-20-luke-81-15

    “Jesus gives us the answer: We can look at the “fruit” in our lives. Teachable, faith-filled hearts (like good soil) will produce much spiritual fruit. Last week, we talked a little about this fruit. The spiritual fruit that comes from God’s Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, forgiveness, healing, righteousness, glory, grace, compassion, knowledge and truth. Another fruit is sharing God’s truth with others. So the test for good “heart soil” is checking to see whether there is any of this fruit in your life. If so, you know that God’s word has taken root in your heart. You have believed the truth of Jesus, and your beliefs guide your actions. You have trusted Jesus, so His Spirit lives in you.

    It is interesting to note that a plant does not “decide” when to bear fruit. It just happens. In the same way, we can’t “decide” when we’re going to bear spiritual fruit. Fruit comes naturally when we remain connected to the Vine. Jesus said, “I am the Vine. You are the branches. If anyone remains joined to me, and I to him, he will bear a lot of fruit. You can’t do anything without Me.” (John 15:5) We must stay connected to Jesus, because without Him, we cannot bear any fruit!

    We aren’t responsible to make the fruit. We are responsible to keep the soil in good condition. Good soil has sunlight, water, and nutrients. How do you think we can “water” and “fertilize” our hearts? Read God’s Word, listen to good teaching, pray, listen to God. (Jesus is the Light!) Good soil is also free of rocks and weeds. How can we keep rocks and weeds out of the soil of our hearts? We don’t plant things in our heart or mind that are against God – bad TV show, movies, books and video games.”

    God bless, C-Marie

  23. Many are called; few are chosen. But don’t give up — it’s worth the attempt. Nobody said it would be easy, but you’ve got nothing better to do.

  24. While there are perhaps as many temporal interpretations of Jesus’ parables as there are interpreters, in this case we don’t have to speculate much, since Jesus explained the meaning to the disciples! All three of the parables discussed are descriptions of what “the kingdom of heaven” is ‘like’ (Gk. homoiothe; similar to). To put it plainly, Jesus was teaching and then later explaining to the disciples, something about the ‘kingdom of heaven’ which ‘the parable of the weeds in the field’ as the disciples put it, gives insight into. This is the primary teaching of the passage: what was said, who said it, when, and under what circumstances, and to what purpose.

    The reason this is important is that, as Jesus prayed in John 17, “because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them” (Jn 17:8) and that for a purpose “Consecrate (Gk, hagiason) them in the truth. Your word is truth” (17:17)”. It is a change in the disciples which Jesus’ words were for, a change in both thought and behavior – a growth in holiness. Paul had this in mind when he said, “This is the will of God, your holiness” (Gk. hagiasmos, 1 Th 4:3). Paul’s focus was not only the elimination of negative behavior, “refrain from immorality”, “not in lustful passion” (v5), “not to take advantage of or exploit a brother” (v6), and not only to encourage the positive behavior (v11-12). He places this behavior directly in the context of their knowledge and reliance on the reality of Jesus’ teachings regarding the certainty of future events. He corrected and directed their thoughts back to Jesus’ teaching, knowing that their cognitive certainty of things not seen (faith in God’s promises) is inextricably linked to their actual behavior (4:13-5:11). If our behavior is to be transformed into something that pleases God, our minds must be transformed first. We will not act on what we do not believe, do not meditate upon and do not even think is relevant. Paul explained to the Romans (12:1-2) that a transformed (metamorphousthe) mind is literally the primary key to believers’ transformed behavior (12:3-15:4).

    If our mind is truly engaged with the passage in Matthew 13, we will be consumed with contemplation of Jesus’ actual words. We will think thoroughly about what he said regarding the Son of Man, his plan, his purposes, his power and the solemnity and utter glory of his final conquest. In light of this reality, our focus should be drawn to Him and to the reasonableness of his plan for us, that we voluntarily re-boot our desires toward a full-on, intentional discipleship His mind-changing (and behavior changing) goal in us: that we have the attitude of Christ toward God’s will for us – increasing trust (Matt 6:10, 26:42; Phil 2:4-8; Rom 12:2,3), that we progressively love Him and desire to please him more and more – improving behavior (John 14:15), and that we increasingly radiate scripture based grace “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pe 3:18).

  25. JTLiuzza, this is why I tell my wife, at my funeral, I don’t want any of this “Celebration of Jerry’s Life” BS. I want folks wearing black, and everyone PRAYING FOR MY SOUL.
    We can all celebrate in Heaven if (God willing!) I/we make it there!

  26. Oh yes, for themprayers for our souls.

    And……Let us pray now, daily, to be ready by all the helps of the Holy Spirit to go when it is our time, and let us pray the same for our loved ones and those God gives is to pray for. Perhaps all could be wearing white as a sign of Joy that we are on our way, and all praying for our souls because when we get to Purgatory, we are definitely going to Heaven to be with our Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit and all of Heaven forever!!!
    God bless, C-Marie

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