Readings: Acts 5:17-26; Psalm 34; John 3:16-21
So is there or is there not a judgement? It seems that today’s gospel gives different answers to this question. ‘God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world ...’ and ‘whoever believes in him will not be judged’. On the other hand, ‘whoever does not believe in him is judged already’ and ‘this is the judgement: that the light has come into the world and people have preferred the darkness to the light’.
From this passage of the gospel it is clear that the judgement is not a new action on the part of God but is already contained, is implicit, in the actions God has already accomplished in the mission, the passion, in the paschal mystery of his Son. In the light of the life of the Incarnate Word, the light of his passion and the glory of his resurrection, the truth of our life becomes clear. This is seen in the experience of Thomas the Apostle. ‘My Lord and my God’, he says. The manifestation of the Risen Jesus with the marks of the nails and the other marks of his passion is enough, there is no need for further words.
This theology of the judgement is to be found in the works of the Dominican artist Fra Angelico. His representations of the last judgement are all like this: Jesus glorified shows to the whole universe the marks of his passion, the marks of the love with which God loved the world so much. Our situation, our weakness, our need are evident in the light of this glory. Further words of judgement are not required: in this light we can see the truth of our condition.
In the Risen Jesus we see the complete and absolute unity of love and truth, of justice and mercy. It is extremely difficult for us to maintain this absolute identity of truth and love, of justice and mercy. But this is what we see in Jesus. Another famous Dominican, Thomas Aquinas, has a very beautiful phrase to describe our Saviour. He is Verbum spirans amorem, the Word that breathes Love. He is our judge because he is Word, Truth, Wisdom, Integrity; he is our saviour because he is Love, Compassion, Mercy.
Let us live therefore in the light of this Word that breathes Love, acting in the truth so that it will be clear that what we do is done in God.