We just heard the New Testament rendition of “super woman”. Not even famous movie stars had seven husbands. Remember, the story never happened. The Sadducees were trying to trap Jesus into saying that there is no resurrection.
Jesus clarified that our life on earth and our life in heaven is similar, but different. Our Church teaches that from the moment we are conceived we are given a soul and a guardian angel to watch over us. When we die our guardian angel presents our soul back to God in heaven, where we will live for all eternity. We have a beginning but no end. In a sense we are immortal. Our soul will never die. Our body will die but at the end of time will be joined again with our soul at the resurrection on the last day. Every time we profess our faith we say, “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” Ingrained into the human psyche is the desire to live forever, because that’s how God created us. We know that there has got to be something better. Although we experience countless blessing during our life; we are still limited. We get tired, sick, jealous. Therefore, we look for the day when there will be no more tears, no more sadness, no more pain. Meanwhile, we want to live each day to the fullest—not wasting time on useless worries, resentments, guilt feelings. Each day is a gift, born without mistakes. So the more we are connected to the source of life, who is Jesus Christ, the more we can be alive. In a culture of death, where many things are disposable, we have to remember that we are not disposable—we are not mistakes. Given the violence all around, the popular mentality is that death is the end. We know better. Death marks the beginning of a marvelous adventure that will never end.
Folks try to imagine what heaven will be. The best authorities are Kindergarten children—or a child just learning to speak. The reason is because they just came from heaven. We all existed in God’s mind when He created our soul. “From our mother’s womb He called us by name.” A child participates in original innocence and has not been contaminated by guilt.
Jesus gave us several previews of heaven. The image that Our Lord used most often was a wedding banquet. Heaven is going to be like a big party. And we are going to be like angels, not angles, but like angels. One man said to another, “My wife is an angel.” The other said, “That’s nice, mine is still alive.” We will always be human. That’s where many get a little confused. The movie industry has not helped much by promoting heaven as radically different from our reality. Every time we receive Holy Communion we are already seated at the heavenly banquet, with all the saints. There is no better preview of heaven than Holy Mass. In essence we transcend our reality of what we can see, feel, smell—to that which we cannot describe—the reality of mystery. Mystery does not mean fantasy. As in any of the Sacraments, Holy Mass can be somewhat understood but never fully explained. Within the Mass is the Pascal Mystery of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. And we are all caught up in the same mystery. We bring our brokenness, our doubts, our joys. Somehow they all get presented to God who does not look at our imperfections, but only at our potential. The Eucharist heals our wounds. We are recharged to go out and live the call of discipleship. Means we have to advocate life—beginning with our own. We have to love ourselves as God loves us.
Eternity is going to be about loving God and everybody around us. We begin by appreciating the gift of life, because God is the God of the living, we are all alive for Him.