In the Spiritual Exercises, one meditates on the reality of one’s own death. It is a healthy exercise calculated to put things in perspective. The takeaway is we need to start living for eternity right now. If we believe what we profess, the Resurrection of the Body is the gateway to a life that puts our current existence in the shade. As children of God, eternal life with Him is our unwavering goal, fervent hope, and true destiny.
The hypothetical question in today’s gospel passage is an attempt to trip Jesus up, but the Divine Teacher proceeds to teach that conniving Sadducee (and us) about the life that is to come. My brilliant pastor distinguished “life after death” from “resurrection” in a recent homily. Resurrection is not just a vague, nebulous half existence, the soul forlornly scurrying about in the shadows, clinging on in a dubious subsistence. Far from it, Resurrection is a radically new life, totally unlike our current reality, fraught as it is with limitations, imperfections, and sufferings. Resurrection is not just an afterlife but a glorious new way of life. For this, we should strain every fiber of our being, every moment of every day, sifting every thought, word, and action in light of the final destiny.
Until at last, on heaven’s threshold. we can claim like St. Paul:
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. 2 Tim 4:7
Children of God
Fr. John Riccardo (watch his Rescued series, it’s brilliant) calls Baptism our spiritual passport, when we are transferred from the dominion of the devil to the kingdom of Our God. For all the cuteness of a newborn infant, due to the rupture of Original Sin, they are under the yoke of the devil. Thank God for the sacrament of Baptism, where we experience a death to sin and are reborn into the Resurrection of Christ. And when our allotted time runs out, we physically die in order to be raised up with Him, to a life that is glorious and where every veil is torn apart, and we will see God face to face. In fact, as the Lord teaches, we will be like the angels.
God of the Living
What about our dearly departed ancestors, still estranged from God because of their own choice? God is not God of the dead, but of the living! All those who have gone before, though no longer inhabiting this world, are eternally present to God. We ceaselessly pray that God will redeem them and welcome them into His eternal rest.
What about loved ones who reject the teachings of the Catholic Church, particularly the Resurrection? Let us intentionally pray for these too, the living, faithful and otherwise, selves included, that the Triune God may infiltrate our defenses in His perfect time, paving the way to a fuller reconciliation. To a closer union with Him that leads us to the blissful tomorrow that we all yearn for.
Jesus can do this! We need but put our faith in Him.
God of Justice
Come Judgement Day, our fervent hope is these most terrifying of words are never uttered:
Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Mat 25:41
This present life is our training ground for acquiring virtue and shedding vice in order to ensure those chilling words are left unspoken, hoping rather for this finest of welcomes:
Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Mat 25:34
Oh, dear Lord, that is a consummation devoutly to be wished for! When the saints go marching in, we beg you Lord, that together with the full communion of all our loved ones, we wanna be in that number!