The story is told about a wife who candidly told her husband: “Honey, I read somewhere that in heaven, we will not meet each other, and will not even recognize each other.” In jest, the husband replied: “Yes. I think that’s true. That’s why it is called Heaven.” With that, the wife’s smile turned into a frown. And the cold war began.
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 20,27-38), Jesus affirms the Resurrection, and further affirms that Heaven is something that is personal, citing Moses’ passage that God is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.”
We just celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day. We believe in the resurrection of the dead and the communion of saints. These tenets of our faith should give us the reason to live good and meaningful lives precisely because there is eternity that awaits us. Our belief in the next life is not so much about a pie in the sky as about a loving Father who awaits us, after we have completed our mission in this life.
Heaven is one big homecoming, our coming home to the Father. It is also the final grand reunion with our loved ones and friends. However, our joy will not be so much on the reunion aspect. There will be joy in meeting one another again, but our greater joy will be in our common focus and unity in God Himself.
We do not own our loved ones. They are God’s more than ours. By the same token, each one of us belongs to God more than to anyone of us, His creatures. On this note, perhaps we can understand the marriage vow that promises love “till death do us part.”
I have two friends who are, well, in the predeparture area already. One is spending a lot of money to build a mausoleum for himself and his family. The other has set aside much of his money for a foundation to help in the education of schoolchildren in his hometown. People who build monuments or mausoleums for themselves are soon forgotten and gone. Those who share their blessings with others live on in the hearts of the people they helped. They are never really gone. They live on.
Let me end that thought with a story about two medical students who noticed a man walking slowly, and in a crooked way. They approached him and asked him if something was wrong with his muscles, or with his bones, maybe? He looked at them and said: “You are wrong. I, too, was wrong. I thought that it was only air that was passing on.” So, what are you leaving behind? What are you passing on? God forbid that we leave behind only air, and God forbid that we leave behind our mess and filth.
If we want to live on, we must learn to live well, and to love much while we are still alive. Back to basics: Live well. Love much. Laugh often.
Last week, I hurriedly picked up my socks from the floor—and whoops! I hurt my back, and had to walk using a cane for a while. My mistake was that I bent down from the hip, and not from the knees. I have been reflecting much about this incident, and the lesson I learned is the necessity of bending our knees when we reach out to God, and when we reach out to other people. Humility, humility, humility.
I am much edified by the Cayco family—Edwin, Aileen, Edison and Lyndon. The children carry on the traditions and core values of their parents. They value family unity and reaching out to people, especially the poor and needy. May those who come after us voluntarily and gladly continue the good deeds we have done, and propagate the good seeds we have sown.
Think about this: “Let us live in such a way that when our last moments come, we will have no regrets that we loved too little, or too late.” Yes, let us not postpone our conversion. Let us not postpone our loving.
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us to live our lives in such a way that we will live on long after we are gone. Amen.
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