Dysfunctional and fragmented as our world is, it has one enduring integrity. It is for ever the privileged place where the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ was shed for the redemption of mankind, the redemption of each and every single human person ever born, ever to be born. This means that spiritually speaking nowhere in our world can be considered as neutral, and nobody irrelevant.
Christ was born in order to die for us, and for that reason the options open to us both narrowed and expanded. They narrowed in the sense that for those who know Him there are ultimately only two possible choices: either we choose Christ, or we reject Him. But the options were also increased in this sense; thanks to the shedding of the Precious Blood, human life is now offered a fulfilment that our ancestors who lived before the Incarnation were not capable of imagining.
When the Saviour descended to the dead on Good Friday, He visited the souls that were in prison, the limbo of the just. When the merits and power of the Precious Blood burst into the drab grey world of limbo, that prison world blushed into colour, the dawning glory of the colours of paradise. Heaven became an option.
The crowds of strangers we pass by on the streets are a race of immortals. Whether they know it or not, all human souls are redeemed by the Precious Blood poured out on Calvary. Our redemption is a fact. It’s our salvation which is far less certain. Our task is to cooperate with the economy of redemption, in order to make salvation possible, our own, and other peoples.
Potentially, those innumerable unevangelized souls we encounter on the streets might have so much that is good to offer the Church and the world. But how will they ever come to know Christ in the Church He founded if nobody tells them the truth of the matter? How will they ever come to understand their real options and their true destiny, if nobody tells them the real facts of life?
Have you been redeemed? Yes, most certainly. Have you been saved? That has yet to be decided. The all-merciful Judge allows us to be the major contributor to that decision. We build up the case at every waking moment of our lives. The final verdict as to our salvation will only be known if and when we make it into purgatory.
If God’s mercy prevails at our particular judgement, then in the very moment that our purgatory begins, our salvation will finally be assured.