Saturday, January 06, 2007

Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalms 96, 100; Revelation 21:22-27; Matthew 12:14-21

Congratulations! You’ve made it the whole way through this book, through another Advent and Christmas season. It is 2007, and you are six days into the New Year. What now?

The reading from the book of Revelation speaks of heaven – a place I assume we’d all like to go! The description pictures a place where God’s presence is made known everywhere just as plainly as it is in church. It’s a place bathed in the light of God’s glory. And it’s a place that is marked by purity – something our culture values more in food and water than it does in thought and behavior.

What is important for us to realize, I think, is the continuity between now – six days into 2007 – and then – the day we go to heaven. In other words, if we don’t learn to enjoy God’s presence now, what makes us think we will enjoy it then? If we are doing things in the darkness now – hidden things, things that we keep secret from others – what makes us think we will embrace the light of God’s glory then? If we don’t long for purity now so that we pursue it with our whole heart, what makes us think we’ll want God to make us pure then?

Said just a bit differently, for heaven to be heaven for us, we have to be in the process right now of allowing God to make us into the kind of people who live life in God’s presence, are guided by his light, and whose characters are conformed to the standards of his purity.

It is an ongoing process to be sure. None of us are there yet. But by God’s grace and with his help, we better be on our way. How will 2007 bring us closer to heaven? And if doesn’t … well, then please realize that what 2007 will bring us closer to is … hell.

So you’ve come to the end of this book. Advent and Christmas are over. It is six days into 2007. What now?

- Father Rob Merola

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