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  A Christian Faith Magazine June 2003, Volume 8, Issue 11  
A Place Called Heaven
Rev. Mark Connolly
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During Holy Week, the Catholic Church reminds its followers of the importance of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday for each one of us should not be relegated to just one day in our way of living. Easter Sunday is a reminder that just as Christ rose from the dead, we, too, will rise from our dead existence. If you study the feast of the Resurrection and its importance, you will find that every scripture scholar uses the text from the new testament from the writings of St. Paul in which he said "if Christ is not risen, vain is our preaching, vain is our faith."


The Resurrection then is the basis for our faith. The Resurrection is the reason we implement the teachings of Christ. The Resurrection is the reason we try to bring the love of Christ to our neighbor. The Resurrection inspires us to do Christ-like things so that one day we may hear the words Christ spoke to the good thief, this day you will be with me in paradise.

If you go back to Holy Thursday, it reminds us of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. If you go back to Good Friday, it is a reminder of the love Christ showed for us on the Cross. If you go back to Easter Sunday, it is a reminder that you and I have a destiny with God in a place called Heaven because of the victory of Christ over death on Good Friday.

Every scripture scholar quotes the language of St. Paul and St. John concerning the heaven that awaits all of us. St. Paul reminded us, "your eyes have not seen nor your ears heard nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has in store for those who have loved him on earth." St. John echoed the same language about Heaven when he said, "the former things of this world will have passed away, there will be no mourning nor grieving, but we will be safe in the kingdom of God."

The word Heaven in the form eternal life or the kingdom of God is mentioned over 600 times in the New Testament. Each reminder teaches us that we have this destiny with God that comes from a life in the service of God. There are other considerations written about by various theologians concerning what Heaven will be for all of us. St. Bonaventure said, "in heaven we will have no climate of fear ." He lived out the words of Christ, "do not be anxious about today or tomorrow for your Heavenly Father will always take care of you". St. Bonaventure eventually went on to say that Heaven will be a place where there will be no sense of restlessness, that each one of us will live with a different kind of serenity that each one will experience the words that Christ spoke centuries ago when he said, "my peace I leave with you my peace give unto you."


Then he said, there will be a climate of forgiveness where we will know what the forgiveness, mercy and love of God are as it has been shown to other people. In this climate of forgiveness, we will see the justice and mercy of God as we have never experienced it. In other words, when you look at the suffering people of the world, especially in Bangladesh and places like that, who have lived in abject poverty from the time of their birth, it will only be in Heaven that their situation will be corrected and the total justice and mercy of God will be received by each one of them.

One of the tragedies of the Easter season is that we are inclined to forget this momentous event. Christ rising from the dead. Christ reminding us that we will one day rise from the dead. Christ reminding us that there is a place called Heaven that He has prepared for us who have served him on earth. This same Christ many centuries ago told his followers, "in my Father's house there are many mansions, but I go there to prepare one for you."

There is one condition. We have to serve and love God with all our hearts, minds and souls. That is our spirituality. If we do not, we miss the greatest reward that God can give us. If we do have a spirituality which teaches us to love and serve God and others, then one day the kingdom of God will not only be in us, but we will be in the kingdom of God.

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