7 February 2019
Hebrews 12:18-19. 21-24
What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or a gloom turning to total darkness, or a storm; or trumpeting thunder or the great voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them. The whole scene was so terrible that Moses said: I am afraid, and was trembling with fright. But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus, the mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.’ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them.
… the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a ‘first-born son’ and a citizen of heaven.
In the 2016 film Silence, the Jesuit priests went to Japan to search for another priest who had gone missing. Their journey brings us to encounter the persecuted Japanese Christians who were always in hiding. There is a lot to this film that made me reflect on my faith, and what particularly stands out was how our Christian brothers were portrayed as putting all their hopes to the promise of a good life in heaven. They were portrayed with so much faith that it will all be better in the after-life. This thought allowed them to endure brutal tortures.
They showed a strong faith in the promise that Jesus made, and lived according to their belief in that promise.
I must admit that in my daily life, I don’t think so much of the after-life. In a very busy Singapore, I don’t even seem to have enough time to do everything I need to do. I can barely find time to do my silent reflection before God. And even when I do, during my silent reflections, I would not even talk to God about one of His major promises – the life with Him in heaven. I am just too caught up talking to Him about everything that is happening to me in my life right now, and talking to Him about what will happen to my life – my earthly life – in the future.
I don’t think I’ve ever talked to Him about what it will be like seeing Him face to face. Or about how it will be like being filled only with love, and not having faith or hope in heaven – since I am already in heaven with Him. It’s only during the time of writing this reflection that I imagine myself feasting with Him in heaven.
What would it be like if instead of just talking to God about our earthly lives, we also talk to Him about spending time with Him in heaven, of walking in the heavenly gardens, of being with the angels and the Saints in heaven, of seeing Mother Mary and being able to run towards her like a child running to her mother to give her a hug?
Thinking about it lifted up my spirits, and helped me look beyond the sorrows of this life. I still have to live my life now, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t think of my wonderful destination as well.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dearest Lord God, help me live in delightful anticipation of the day when I will be with you in heaven.
Thanksgiving: Thank you for telling us about the wonderful place you have prepared for us. Thank you for loving me so much and waiting for me.