This weekend’s readings bring up some pretty heavy topics; heaven, hell, purgatory and the second coming. Scripture, the Catechism and the saints give us lots of insight into what these might be like but what does it all mean and what is this second coming thing all about? Let’s break it down.
We believe that when a person dies they go to one of three places.
Heaven where souls live in endless union with God, loving and praising Him and praying for souls not yet in heaven.
Purgatory is a temporary state of purification where souls have the effects of their sins cleansed before they are able to enter heaven.
Hell is not a punishment that God inflicts on bad people. Rather, it is an eternal, voluntary choice that can be made if a sinner wants to reject God’s forgiving, merciful love.
Then someday, “that day or hour, no one knows, neither, the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” (Mark 13: 32) Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead” (Nicene Creed). This is when the fun stuff really starts happening. In the Apostles’ Creed, we profess, “I believe in… the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” This resurrection is not just of Jesus but of all people. Our first reading, Daniel 12:2, speaks to this, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Yes, you heard it right, all the dead will rise. Not like zombies, but like Christ in full bodily appearance (John 20: 24-29) reunited body and soul. The reading continues, “some shall live forever [in heaven],” those who choose God. And “others shall be in everlasting horror and disgrace [in hell],” because they reject God.
So, with all of that being said, let us live our lives for Heaven. Let us come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we fall short and sin, to be forgiven and healed. Let us come to the Eucharistic table at Mass to join with our faith community to be nourished and to pray. So when that day comes we “will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory,” (Mark 13: 26) we will be ready to celebrate the eternal banquet of Heaven.
Peace & Prayers,
Coordinator of Youth Formation