Victory over Torment

Luke 16:19-31

The parable delivered in today’s Gospel compels us to think about our journey to heaven, and how to achieve victory over torment. Jesus presents us with the story of this rich man who is confronted with the eternal consequences of a sinful lifestyle. The reality of hell appears to prompt a transformation of heart in him as he tries to spare his family.


Matthew Kelly has been known to say, “A journey toward something is always a journey away from something else.” Our journey toward heaven and away from torment is a life-long marathon, a race against our own sinful tendencies. What slows us down is the dead weight of the sins that either 1) we've not yet identified, or 2) we’ve not yet confessed, or 3) we’ve not yet surrendered to the mercy of God.    


At the root of our sinfulness is pride. Pride is the concrete of the soul. It hardens us, turning soft hearts into stone.


Unless we deliberately and consciously turn away from our sinful pride and take the step toward the blessings of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and take advantage of the Penance Rite at the beginning of Mass, we can get overtaken by our temptations and doubts, which will have us stumbling and get us thrown off course.


To stay on track and keep moving forward until we win the race, we must fix our eyes on Jesus.


Sin can happen when we find ourselves in situations that we don't like and where we choose to remedy things in a way that only puts us further behind in the race and adds to our anxieties and insecurities.


The story of the parable of the rich man had me thinking of a writing produced by author Jim Brown entitled, "An Interview with God," a fictional account where he asks God, "What surprises you most about humanity?" And God says, "What surprises me most about humanity is that he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. What results is that he doesn’t live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."


To achieve a real victory, we must implement Christ's way of love, even if this means sacrificing the easy way out.  Victory is never found in self-preservation; it’s never found on the safe side of the cross. It's found on the far side of the cross, the resurrection side, and that comes only after laying down our lives for the sake of others.


There is no glorious solution to hardships without dying to ourselves and nailing our personal desires to the cross of Christ. As followers of Christ, we must accept our hardships as the gifts that they truly are.


Troubled marriages can be resurrected if both spouses go to the cross and through the cross for each other. Strained relationships at work can be healed when one or both of the parties is willing to swallow their pride and say, “Let’s try it your way”. Christ’s solution is always a solution of love and forbearance. This type of unconditional love is a reflection of Christ's own love, an example that evangelizes the world.


Even when other people's unlovingness makes our lives miserable, we can rise above the suffering by living in God's embrace. I saw a Facebook post that included a picture of a massive ocean wave and the caption was: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”

When the waves come, when everything seems to be going wrong, if we truly trust in the Lord, we know that our faith will sustain us.  Faith doesn’t allow us to avoid bad days, but it guarantees us that we’ll come out of them ok. By waiting upon the Lord and relying upon his guidance, whatever we do, will prosper (as it said in today's Psalm).


Nothing can hold us back from complete victory over the torment of hell, because God has given us that assurance. Through Jeremiah, he tells us “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.” Acting upon that truth by loving others unconditionally and seeking reconciliation with God is how we bring heaven to earth.


And so we pray today, Dear Lord, it is our desire to give you 100% and not hold anything back. Help us to see those areas where we’ve fallen short and failed to love as you love.  Help us to trust you when our trials come instead of trying to seek our own solutions. 


Victory over the torment of hell is within our reach. The kingdom of God is already here – it’s within us. We only need to choose to claim it for ourselves through our full and complete reliance on the one who came to save us, Jesus Christ!


loving you forever quotes  |  |  September 9, 2018  |  10:21 PM

this is wonderful. I like this post. Best wish for you 
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