Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 20,27-38.
Some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, came forward and put this question to Jesus,
saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, ‘If someone’s brother dies leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’
Now there were seven brothers; the first married a woman but died childless.
Then the second
and the third married her, and likewise all the seven died childless.
Finally the woman also died.
Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be? For all seven had been married to her.”
Jesus said to them, “The children of this age marry and remarry;
but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage.
They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called ‘Lord’ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;
and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.”
Peace to all my brothers and sisters listening in today
Heaven and hell
Today’s gospel is about trying to understand our ultimate destiny. How can we wrap our minds around what happens when we die, that is the afterlife.
There’s a great story about a huge samurai warrior that might help us focus on what is important when thinking about heaven and hell. The warrior traveled many miles to see a certain very small Franciscan friar.
When he finally found him, the swordsman said in a great bellowing voice, Teach me about heaven and hell. I have to know the truth.
The friar looked up at the huge warrior and thinking quickly he responded in utter disgust.
Teach you about heaven and hell you’re an idiot I couldn’t teach you about anything you’re ignorant fat and dirty you smell your a disgraceful violent oaf and a total embarrassment to the samurai class get out of my sight you sicken me.
The samurai was both enraged and in shock. He began to growl and breathe heavily and then turned red. He then pulled out his sword and held it high above his head ready to strike the friar.
That’s hell the friar said softly
The warrior stopped in his tracks and stared thoughtfully at the friar He was overwhelmed at the compassion and surrender of this man who offered his own life to give this teaching about hell. He slowly put his sword back down. The samurai was filled with gratitude and a sense of peace overcame him and his eyes swelled with tears.
And that’s heaven said the friar.
One of the most important teachings about heaven and hell is that we believe they begin now. We Catholics hold heaven is already and not yet, meaning although we have not entered into the fullness of heaven which only happens when we die we can in someway glimpse it and experience it already here on earth. It follows we can also experience a hell as well when we allow our hearts to be enraged or when we refuse to forgive. We can allow suspicion, mistrust, bitterness and cynicism to take overwhelm us. These harden our hearts and prevent us from loving.
We can also experience a taste of heaven on earth and even more importantly allow others to share that glimpse of heaven when we choose to love even in stressful moments, like when we have been insulted or have a sword hanging over our head.
In thinking about heaven and hell it is not so much about us getting into heaven but rather about heaven getting into us When we allow God’s love and peace and forgiveness to shine through us, we become instruments which convey God’s presence in a powerful and concrete way.
May God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
Always remember heaven is our goal and it can begin today