Versione Italiana

CAPTER ONE
 

Hell in the Gospels

 

There is a Hell- unfortunately - and those who end up there never again escape from it. The first and fundamental reason to believe in it, is because so it is written in the Bible, the Word of God divinely inspired, starting with the Gospel proclaimed by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Risen one. Who just through his resurrection has proved his divine nature, the truth of his teaching (Hell included) and the authoritativeness of the Bible.
"But I don't believe Jesus is risen" someone objects. "Doesn't matter" is my answer: "Jesus is risen the same": and the Hell is there also for those who don't believe in it.
In fact a great mystic of the Church in one of her visions saw the Hell crowded by people who had not believed in it.

There are many ways in which one searches to escape from this distressing reality. Some theologians of the second Vatican Council, in the impossibility of denying the existence of Hell, have done very dangerous theological acrobatics to ventilate the seductive hypothesis that Hell may also be there, but it is empty, in short no one ends up there since God is love and finally forgives all .....
To the many believers who believe that they can teach God what He should or should not be, and what He can or cannot do,  I suggest to take a red marker and underline all the passages where the Gospel speaks about Hell (but also, so as not to fall into discomfort, to underline with a green marker - the color  symbolizing hope - the passages which speak of  Paradise).

When venturing into this very important test, it must be taken into account that the word "Hell"- whose etymology is nether, concealed place - recurring more than 10 times in many English bibles, is the translation of the word "Gehennah" in the Greek text  (the Gospels and the whole New Testament have arrived  to us in the Greek version). "Gehennah" is one of the terms more used by Jesus in referring to Hell.  I was somewhat the landfill of Jerusalem, where the fire was always kept on, and  carrions of animals were thrown there and also of criminals put to death.  Teaching that it is best to take away - and cut off - all that makes us fall into sin, even if it is a hand or a foot or an eye, Jesus warns that it is better to do so that to end up in the Gehennah, the  Hell, "where their worm never dies and the is never quenched" (Mark 5:48).

In some other passages, Hell is defined with the word "Hades". In the vision of the afterlife referred by the Gospel of Luke (16:23), the rich reveler past to a worse life is shown  "in Hades among the torments". To Capernaum, the city where Jesus came to settle after Nazareth and which  had not converted notwithstanding  the  many signs and miracles done by  the Lord, Jesus prophecies: "You will be brought down to Hades" (Matthew 11:23). While to  Peter, who had recognized him as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God", the Lord assures that "the gates of Hades will not prevail" against the Church (Matthew 16: 15-18).

The words that Jesus uses in referring to Hell are dramatically eloquent, and portray it as a dark place of indescribable and eternal suffering: see the expression "tears and gnashing of teeth" that recurs in the parables of good grain and weeds, the net thrown into the sea, wedding gifts, the ten virgins. But another way in which Jesus speaks of those who go to hell is their not entering the Kingdom of Heaven, and being excluded forever from it:

"Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and  Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of the heaven" the Lord says, for example, in the discourse of the mountain (Matt. 5:20). Well, who "does not enter" ends up in Hell. With this expression Jesus emphasizes the increased suffering of the damned in being excluded from the eternal happiness of the celestial kingdom. It is worth quoting  in full a piece of the Gospel of Luke (13: 22-29), also to remind us that what we are saying must move to concrete steps of repentance to enter the narrow door leading to life, instead of losing ourselves in vain theological discourses or in an unfounded religious security.  "Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them,  “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able.  When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’  But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’  There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

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