Where are we going? What happens next? How will this all play out? They are questions I suspect many of us have asked at some point in our lives and probably more than a few times in the last couple of weeks. As humans, we experience a lot of nervousness about the future because there are so many unknowns that come along with it. We listen to political pundits, board room big wigs and even weather forecasters chart, plot and plan for possible outcomes, but no one really knows what will happen until it does.
Although some people may be able to leap into the next great adventure with both feet, there are those of us who would like a little more clarification about what’s coming before diving in headfirst. We are curious people and I doubt there are any among us who would turn down a chance to look behind Door Number One, Curtain Number Two or under Box Number Three. Today’s readings seek to give us a little peek at what lies ahead, but neither are particularly satisfying. The first deals with an apocalyptic image of the “end times” and God calling His people to Him while the second centers on the most complicated “what if” scenario I have ever heard about, Two weeks ago, my priest’s homily was on this very reading and on the way home, my husband asked me if I thought we would be married in Heaven. “I’m not sure it makes a difference one way or the other,” I told him. “I don’t think the same rules apply there. It’s not like it’s Earth 2.0.”
But that’s what we tend to think isn’t it? We see Heaven as a new and improved version of Earth and we assume that the best elements of our lives will seamlessly convert and play in a perpetual repeat mode. For years, I viewed Heaven as a place where I could jam with Jimi Hendrix in the morning and play touch football with JFK in the afternoon. It was a place where I could be a carefree 11-year-old for all eternity if I wanted, living in my parents’ house and riding my bike around the old neighborhood alongside my best friend Jack. To me, Heaven was nothing short of Star Trek’s holodeck or Mr. Rourke’s Fantasy Island.
Of course the problem with infusing our earthly infrastructure into something that is uniquely God is that it just doesn’t translate. It’s like trying to get a Blu-Ray to run on a DVD machine. It doesn’t work. If there is no hierarchy in Heaven other than God, how will I know who JFK is? If I am perpeturally 11, where does that leave my husband and children? Limbo? (Just kidding.) Jesus alludes to this when he answers the leaders and implies that none of our earthly issues matters in the hereafter. God may give us what we need to cross over, but once we are there, being in His presence is the only thing that counts. It’s an abstract concept that is hard to wrap your brain around and it’s important not to blow a fuse trying to riddle it out. Eventually, it will all make sense but only when we get to a place where we will love unconditionally and become one body and one spirit in the presence of God.
Today’s Readings for Mass: RV 11:4-12; PS 144:1, 2, 9-10; LK 20:27-40