Genesis 8:21-9:7- My Brother’s Keeper

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

What do you think Hell is like?

There have been many different analogies used for Hell throughout the Scriptures and by contemporary authors. Our Lord used the garbage dump just outside the city of Jerusalem, Gehenna, where trash was burned day and night as an example of what Hell is like. Some people have seen Hell as a cold place and lonely place, where others have seen it as a place of intense physical and spiritual suffering. The analogy which I have always found very terrifying and yet very telling comes from C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, a book about a “field-trip” from Hell to Heaven and the differences between the two places as experienced by the pilgrims.

In Lewis’ Hell everyone has a mansion. Everyone lives in the lap of luxury. The only problem is that the houses get further and further apart from one another. Lewis’ Hell is the ultimate “gated community”- a community of one. A couple of characters decide to visit Napoleon in Hell and finally reached him after travelling for thousands of years. Inside Napoleons mansion was the little man himself, eternally pacing and casting blame on others for his defeat.

Brothers and sisters, in today’s reading we hear of our responsibility for each other in the eyes of God. We are accountable for the life and blood of our fellow human beings made in God’s Image and Likeness. We are truly our brother’s keepers, and the healthier we become spiritually, the closer to others and to God we will become. Compassion is a sign of spiritual health.

Over this Lenten pilgrimage take some time to question yourself- am I moving closer or further away from others? Do I live in God’s community or the “gated-community” of my own idolatry?

Glory be to Jesus Christ!

Fr. Michael Bombak

About Fr. Michael Bombak

Fr. Michael Bombak is the Assistant Pastor of St. Josaphat Cathedral in Edmonton Alberta. He is also a school teacher and a father of four.