What is Heaven?

(June 7, 2020)

I offer this homily (and take off my hat) to any brothers who are celebrating Mass or live streaming during this crisis

Bottom line: With such a future, with such a hope, we can take to heart St. Paul's words.

Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, who like a mighty river, can heal our world, our nation, our church, our hearts. Today we recognize the goal of all healing: the Blessed Trinity. The Holy Spirit enables us to enter that the eternal union of Father and Son. To understand that future, I begin with an anecdote.

Once I asked a young lady about her dreams for the future. She surprised me. "Father," she said, "what I most dream about is retirement!" She wasn't thinking about retirement as seniors experience it: increasing aches and pains - and loneliness. No, she was imagining an unending Caribbean cruise (before the coronavirus). She wasn't dreaming so much about retirement. She was dreaming about heaven.

So do we all. What is heaven? The Bible does not give a lot of specifics but we do know it will involve knowing and being known. As St. Paul say, "now we see but a dim reflection, then we shall see face to face...Now I know in part, then I shall know fully as I am fully known." (I Cor 13:12-13)

Deep inside, we want to know. I remember in 1977 when the Roots Series came out. It transfixed our nation. During the week we talked about the previous episode and waited anxiously for the next. We want to know. In heaven we will begin to know an inexhaustible reality: God the Father through Jesus in the Holy Spirit, that is, in the Communion of Saints. Not one boring moment, the joy of knowing more and more.

This world exists to make souls - beings like you and me capable of eternal union with the Trinity. In heaven knowledge will not lead to competition and pride as it often does here below. Knowledge and love will be one. We can see that in the Trinity itself. Jesus is the Father's Word. The Holy Spirit is the Gift, the Love of Father and Son.

How we get to heaven we will see next Sunday as we celebrate Corpus Christi - the Body and Blood of Christ. This Sunday we underscore our goal: knowing and being known by God, Father, Son and Spirit. With such a future, with such a hope, we can take to heart St. Paul's words:

Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you. Amen


Spanish Version

From the Archives (Trinity Sunday, Year A):

2017: Life in Christ Week 9: Invitation
2014: Who Look Into the Depths
2011: Origin and Goal
2008: Family as Origin and Goal
2005: Alone Again
2002: An Excellent Question
1999: A Capacity for God

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Kurt Nagel
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru