The gift of the Spirit constitutes in a real way an immediate entry into eternal life; for by virtue of the indwelling Spirit the Christian shares in God’s own divine nature.
The parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man reminds us that hell is a real danger. If we reject helping those in need, we might find ourselves permanently residing in the netherworld, pleading for a drop of water to cool our tongue.
How serious is the need to evangelize others? Is the matter of salvation a pressing one? Society suggests it’s no big deal. But the reality of the situation is actually quite different.
Instituted by Christ and founded on the apostles, the Church on earth is the kingdom of heaven in its seed and beginning. The Church is God the Father’s intended home for all people, deigned to be so from before time began. She is inclusive, barring no person from communion with her and her founder, Jesus Christ. It is only the individual who voluntarily excludes himself by rejecting communion with the Church through free-choices that are incompatible with the love of Christ and the rule of his kingdom.
People today often think that getting to heaven is easy. All you have to do is be a “nice” person. We dabble in sin regularly, even nearly constantly, telling ourselves “it’s no big deal. God is merciful.”