“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ~ John 14:6
In today’s Gospel (John 14:1-6), a popular selection for the Catholic Funeral Liturgy, Jesus seeks to ease the troubled minds of his disciples with a message rooted in the promise of eternal companionship with Him in God’s Heavenly Kingdom; it is a message rooted In hope.
As believers, we know that Jesus ascended to heaven to prepare a place for us when we pass from this life to the next. But his promise and plan for the faithful extends beyond even that. Jesus calls us to serve him ~ right here, right now ~ in his Earthly Kingdom. It unfolds all around us. As it does, Jesus reveals himself to us by way of his divine will.
Throughout our lives, we constantly find ourselves trying to carve out and subsequently fulfill our role in various settings, whether it be in our family, as a member of a sports team, the workplace, perhaps even in our parish; the list goes on and on. But what about our role in the larger Earthly Kingdom, or for that matter the Heavenly Kingdom? Yes, with regard to the latter, it’s never too soon to begin to contemplate the role we will play for all of eternity in service to God and his beloved in the heavenly dwelling place that he has meticulously prepared for each of us.
Whatever it may be, you can rest assured that it has been painstakingly and lovingly selected just for you. It’s where you will reside as the spiritual conduit through which Jesus’ love and mercy will flow through and wash over you, allowing you to best serve those that God has, without accident or coincidence, placed in your path now and forever.
Jesus of course accompanies us here in the Earthly Kingdom, working alongside us, inspiring us, forgiving us, nourishing us with both the gift of his word in scripture and his very being in the Eucharist. His presence can also fill us with unrelenting joy, an invaluable and necessary gift that can serve to sustain, embolden and galvanize us. After all, the journey can at times be arduous and unforgiving; demoralizing even.
Meaningful time spent with Jesus increases our faith in him. It allows us to truly believe him when he says “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.” Eucharistic Adoration, quiet contemplative time pondering Scripture or entering into the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. These are but a few of the ways that we can achieve a foretaste of the prepared heavenly dwelling place while here in the unrelenting, clattering and clanging noisiness of the secular world.
It has been said that the “Kingdom of Heaven is at hand and is yet to come.” This is one of the divine mysteries of our faith, a mystery worth reflecting upon. As mentioned, the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary are one such vehicle through which to do so, but there are many. Matthew 13:44, which immediately precedes the “Parable of the Pearl” is a good starting point as well. Luke 18:29-30, Mark 10:14, Matthew 20:1-16. There are at least 20 more passages I could list here. Familiarizing yourself with them will change your life https://hubpages.com/religion-philosophy/Becoming-Heaven-Centric.
Are we tending to those in our midst, and experiencing the joy which comes from it, while anticipating the greater joy that is to come?” I urge you to do so, for with each swiftly passing day, we inch ever so closer to our eternal fate, a dwelling place that “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor any human mind ever conceived.” (1 Cor 2:9). The secular world tells you that “Life is short ~ best to enjoy it as much as possible.” Jesus on the other hand gently reminds us that “Eternity is long...best to start preparing for it today.”’
“You have redeemed us, Lord, by your Blood, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us into a kingdom, priests for our God.” ~ Revelation 5:9-10