Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 10, 2019

Have you ever noticed that kids are at their happiest when they are playing out of their imagination?  It’s amazing what they can conjure up in their little minds.  There are no boundaries and little to restrict their world they are creating in those moments, with cardboard boxes or sandboxes. 

It’s what we need, as well, when it comes to imagining what heaven is like: a little (or a lot) of imagination.  At least a little more imagination than the Sadducees who got stuck on the “what if” question of whose wife was who’s in heaven?  But how do you express eternity when all we have experienced is time?  How do you imagine eternal love when even the best of love will one day be met with grief?  How do you imagine the face of God when no one has ever seen God?  How do you imagine a resurrected body when all we know is our bodies, blessed and broken as they are?  Without imagination, how can we anticipate absolute joy after we witnessed that Packer game last week?     

Heaven, resurrection, eternal life - it is all based upon the nature of God and it is God’s gift to us.  But we can’t fully imagine it or describe it because is it not ours to claim.  It is God’s.  We don’t own it; we don’t earn it; we can’t even somehow claim that we deserve it.  It is so far beyond us that we can’t even legitimately capture it in our minds.  We try, of course -we sing about it and paint it and talk about it and ponder it.   But we’ll never get it.  God has not revealed it to us…yet. 

What God has revealed to us, though, is how to prepare for it - by how we live in this world.  By constantly reminding ourselves of what truly lasts forever and what does not.  By keeping in perspective what we have God has created and what we have.  By never forgetting what remains behind when we die and what does not.

What we must remember is that while we can’t avoid suffering on earth, any suffering will pale in comparison to the glories we will receive in heaven.   *  We must remember that while time will have no measure in the kingdom of heaven, it does matter how wisely and generously we use and share our time on earth.   *  We must remember that our gifts and talents and abilities are God-given and must be used for the good of this age because those gifts and talents and abilities will be of no value in a kingdom where all of life is complete.  *  We must remember that while the treasures of this earth look good on paper and might provide some sense of security and certainly offer some pleasure in our earthly journey, in the kingdom of heaven earthly treasure has no place; it is of no value. 

God has not revealed the fullness of the kingdom that awaits us when we die, for that we must rely upon our imagination.  But God is the God of the living, and without doubt has revealed how we must live on this earth if we are to one day know the kingdom of heaven.  So, while we can only imagine what heaven is, we do know what our life on earth must look like.  We paint that canvas with our generosity, and we sing that song with loving charity, and we write that book with compassion for the poor, and we tell that story in the love that we share, and we build this earthly kingdom with forgiveness and mercy.  Today.  Everyday.

As we heard in the words of St. Paul: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.”



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