Friday, February 15, 2008
Acts 12, 21-23 Herod eaten by worms breathed his last
(Acts 12, 21-23) Herod eaten by worms breathed his last
 On an appointed day, Herod, attired in royal robes, (and) seated on the rostrum, addressed them publicly.  The assembled crowd cried out, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man."  At once the angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not ascribe the honor to God, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
(CCC 1013) Death is the end of man's earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When "the single course of our earthly life" is completed (LG 48 § 3), we shall not return to other earthly lives: "It is appointed for men to die once" (Heb 9:27). There is no "reincarnation" after death. (CCC 1033) We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 Jn 3:14-15). Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren (Cf. Mt 25:31-46). To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."