THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (November 6, 2016)
2 Mc 7:1-2, 9-14/2 Thes 2:16-3, 5/Lk 20:27-38
Heaven is always a puzzle to us. We do not know what we will become in the second life, especially in heaven. Normally, we think of second life as an extension of our earthly life. We think that in heaven we will have houses and parks, foods and drink, families and friends, etc. On the other hand, we believe that in hell there will be everlasting flames. Certainly, while hell will be everlasting damnation and suffering, heaven will be everlasting life and happiness. These suffering and happiness must never be understood as earthly or material but rather as heavenly or spiritual.
Jesus made it clear in the gospel that those who are worthy to enter heaven will never neither marry nor die for they are like angels. Angels are pure spirits just like God. They do not have material body. On the other hand, man is composed of body and spirit. Since we live in a material world, we are more of material than spiritual in the sense that the way we live is material while the way we think is spiritual. But when we go to the second life, we will be more spiritual than material. Our material body will be glorified when we enter heaven and it will be like the body of Jesus. After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared to His disciples gathered in a closed room without passing through the door, window or wall. He simply appeared to them. His body was not anymore limited by material features since His body was a glorified one.
In heaven, we will be like angels. We can never be angels because we have bodies and we are not created or born angels. We will simply be like angels since the way we live and think will be spiritual. Moreover, angels neither marry nor eat. We will never have families there or batch reunions. Like angels, we will simply focus on praising God and contemplating the beauty and the goodness of God. We were created by God in His own image and likeness and we were created by God for Him alone. Consequently, our happiness and fulfillment of life can be acquired in our union with God in heaven. This union with God and contemplation of God is what the Church calls beatific vision.
Indeed, it is hard to imagine the happiness that we will have when we reach heaven. Certainly, our happiness here on earth is just a foretaste of the happiness in heaven. Heavenly joy is full and complete because our satisfaction is no other than God Himself. For this reason, while we live here on earth, we must remember that we are not created to live here forever. Rather, we are destined to live with God in eternal happiness. To acquire this everlasting life, we must go to Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. He is the way towards heaven; He is the truth that will set us free from falsities of this world; and, He is the fullness of life. We need to follow Jesus by observing all His teachings and decrees which are summarized in His commandment of love: Love God and love your neighbor.