Jesus Promises Us Eternal Life - Version 2
4th Sunday of Easter, Cycle B

Jesus, The Good Shepherd, made the following promise: "To those who listen to my voice and follow my direction, I will grant eternal life." What is this eternal life? Is it an endless form of what we now experience, though perhaps in another place and under better conditions? "No!" says John, "this is eternal life, that they KNOW the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent."

Since we already KNOW something about the Father and Jesus, it appears that eternal life begins here, in co-existence with temporal life. We can conclude then that heaven is not a place but rather a condition or a state of intimacy with God, in and through Jesus.

Now this, in turn, suggests a similar condition of unity joining together all of those who share the common condition of unity with Christ. In other words, if I am united to Christ and you are united to Christ, then, we have a common bond. We are, as Paul reminds us, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are brothers and sisters sharing, at this very moment, in the first stage of eternal life...a life over which death has no power. Because of this, I have no doubts about our being reunited with our loved ones after we die. Put simply, being united to each other through Christ in this life leads to our being consciously united to each other for all eternity.

Since it is in KNOWING and LOVING that we are said to be God's image, it only makes sense that heaven consists in knowing and loving God and each other to the fullest. This means that in heaven, truth and goodness will be the very essence of our existence.

Well if you are with me to this point, you might well be thinking that an eternity of Truth and Goodness sounds like a somewhat sanitized echo of the best times we have had on earth rather than the other way around.

As you well know, life on earth, is supposed to offer us a taste of heaven, but what some of us quietly fear is that heaven is going to offer us good memories of the good times we had back here!

I am really painting myself into a corner, aren’t I?

I mean, true and good happiness is , more often than not, connected with personal intimacy…..So how is that to be replicated at all levels in heaven?

You know , Jesus was asked substantially the same question by some nervous Pharisees. If a woman dies after having buried six husbands... to which one will she be married in heaven?

One would think that the most charitable response would come in the form of a prayer: "Eternal REST grant unto her O Lord!"

Jesus' answer was essentially the same as he would give us. In part, He said, "In heaven there will be no more giving and taking of husbands and wives."

You see all of our "WHAT IF" scenarios are a waste of time.

Because the hell of thinking about heaven is that we cannot imagine or trust a love that surpasses our own limited understanding.

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