Sometimes, listening to the message of the Bible, I think that Christ is asking me, “Are you ready to die?” But, obsessing about death isn’t life. What God really wants me to ask myself is, “Am I ready to live forever?”
We could survive with no thought of God, or even belief in God. We could live our lives self-centeredly, devoted to the things of the earthly plane of existence, to the merely physical, and live lives that end in death. Or… Or we could wake up to the reality beyond our physical senses, become fully alive in body and soul, devoted to the Kingdom of God, the spiritual, and live lives that never end– this is what it is to live in Christ.
None of us knows when we will die, the exact day and hour when our earthly lives will come to an end. But, our earthly lives will come to an end – of this we are certain, with reason. Of this we, as Christians, are also certain through faith: our spiritual lives will NOT come to an end. Our souls, the essential heart of who we are, will never die.
God reveals to us through Sacred Scripture that His Kingdom, which has no end, is like a shining city on the highest mountain, wherein abides all justice, all prosperity, all wisdom, all peace – all that is purely of God. As our souls are of God, this is the place to which our souls will return when our earthly lives come to an end. But, we don’t have to wait to the end of our earthly lives to know whether or not we will be able to enter into the Kingdom. If eternity has no beginning and no end, then our eternal lives have already begun, here and now. If we walk in the ways of wisdom and peace, mercy and love while living our earthly lives, if we walk in the light of the Lord, then, truly, our eternal home is the eternal House of the Lord. If we live to give our love, then we are already there spiritually, in the heart of the Kingdom, walking with Christ.
During Advent, we celebrate the coming of Christ – when the old life, the one of mere physical existence, passes away so that a new life, eternal life, may begin. Therefore, I must ask myself: am I prepared to live eternally? Am I ready to joyfully dwell forever in the place of all wisdom, all goodness, and all peace? If so, I should be making this place my home already, here and now, through my prayers, my words and my actions. Home is where the heart is: May my heart truly be the sacred abode in which God and I dwell together, now and forever. Practical question that each of us can ask ourselves: how many hours of the week do I spend on isolating, self-centered activities that will die with the flesh and how many hours do I spend on acts of charity and direct caring for others, which, like love, will live forever? Our answers can help us understand how to throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light – to be fully awake and truly alive in Christ. May we receive him deeply into our hearts when he comes… and be at home in his Sacred Heart – God With Us, Emmanuel, now and forever.