Let’s talk about Eternity!
The world and its desires are passing away but those who do the Will of God live forever1 John 2:17
As Christians, we need to ask ourselves 3 important questions:
Are we convinced of the shortness of this earthly life?
Are we convinced of the reality of Eternal life?
Are we living this earthly journey with ‘Heaven’ as a destination?
The ending of the Nicene Creed which we say at Mass, goes like this:
“The first absolutely certain truth of our life, beyond the fact that we exist, is the inevitability of death”St. Pope John Paul II (16, Faith and Reason, 1998).
It is without doubt that we will all die one day and face God. Since this day will be a sudden event and will “come like a thief”, Jesus prepares us well in advance.
Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.Matthew 24:42
To what extent are we walking in obedience to the words of Jesus? Many of us are living this life as if it is going to last forever! This is spiritual blindness.
Oh, the dullness and hardness of a heart which looks only to the present instead of preparing for that which is to come! How do you know you will have a tomorrow?Thomas A. Kempis (The Imitation of Christ, 1:23)
Jesus, through the Holy Spirit within us, has the power to raise us up on the Last Day (Jn 11:24). If there is no Last Day to talk about, then this power of Jesus is useless, fictional and fake!
There is a last day
When we die on this earth, each will have to give an account to God (Rom 14:10-12). We do not carry anything forward from this life – all our certificates, bank balances, material goods, property, achievements, etc. will remain down here. These do not take us to heaven. One day, when we stand in front of God, each on individual basis, what will He ask of us? Since “You are dust and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19), it is only your personal relationship with God and obedience to Him in this life which matters, nothing else!
You do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.James 4:14
The Catholic Church teaches that the body is temporary and dies, but the soul is judged and moves into eternity – either to Heaven, through a stage of purification in Purgatory, or to Hell, which is eternal separation from God. Hence, an investment into our souls is of utmost importance!
Eternity – A Practical Topic
Both the topic of eternity and the gospel message of Jesus are deeply inter connected. One without the other is not just an incomplete message but a false message. We cannot downplay or ignore this fundamental truth – that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent here on earth so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life (John 3:16).
A human life span is so highly insignificant and so very negligible in comparison to the everlasting life which has no end. In spite of this reality and knowledge, our short-sightedness of looking only at this temporary life blinds us and prevents us from living in the light of eternal truth. Here is where one can easily slip into a false view of Christianity. While good and charitable works and service to the poor definitely need to be encouraged, we need to be aware that the topic of eternal salvation and the work on the Cross is of utmost importance and needs our attention and understanding. Time is passing by fast and the day will come when we will be called to leave this earth. At the time of death, each of us will come face to face with God for judgement as the mortal body will be separated from the immortal soul.
Withdraw your heart from the world before God takes your body from it.Blessed John of Avila
Life passes so quickly that we ought to think more of how to die than how to live.St. Teresa of Avila
If one is earthly minded, then the eternal aspect of his / her relationship with Jesus is hushed up. The love for God and one’s sincerity in service to Him will take a backseat and become something superficial and possibly meaningless. With one’s thoughts being limited to the temporal life, love of neighbour also will be affected. The Cross of Jesus loses its significance and there is danger of losing out on eternal salvation. Listening to God’s voice cannot happen and at the end of the day, living out the Christian call will NOT be a reality.
The same Jesus who rose from the dead takes His place in our hearts today, but only if we willingly and joyfully allow Him in (Rev 3:20). To reduce our relationship with the Lord down to just the earthly dimension actually indicates a huge contradiction and an inner conflict within. Which Lord are we claiming to be followers of? If it is Jesus, Son of the Living God, whose nature is eternal (Rom 1:20, Heb 13:8), whose steadfast love endures forever (Ps 136), whose reign is everlasting (Lk 1:33, 2Sam 7:13, Heb 1:8) and who is coming back to judge the living and the dead (1Pet 4:5, 2Tim 4:1), then without compromise, we need to be convinced that our Christian faith, if genuine and authentic, is all about eternity! Jesus is Lord, NOW AND FOREVER!
I am the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live.John 11:25
Written by Vinay Silva, October 2020