Thursday, 19 November 2009
On His knee.
Father Ignatius approached the pulpit and in his clear crisp voice he started his Sunday sermon:
“Although Heaven is mentioned often in the Bible there’s one instance where we have a glimpse of a description. In today’s reading from John 14:2 Jesus says: ‘In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.’
“Let’s think about this for a moment. Is Heaven a building somewhere in the sky, or wherever you perceive it to be, with many rooms as Jesus said? Or is it something or some place totally different?
“I suspect that Jesus used the description of a house because He wanted an example that his listeners could relate to. The people of His time were used to seeing palaces and mansions; so describing Heaven as a building is quite an apt description which they can come to terms with in their minds.
“Better than saying Heaven is a state of being where our souls float freely in the presence of God and His angels. Would Christ’s contemporaries understand that I wonder?
“So a large building it is; with many rooms of course.
“Presumably the multiplicity of rooms is to ensure that our Lord keeps all the denominations separately to avoid their incessant arguments and so give Him some peace and quiet in His Heavenly domain.” said Father Ignatius jokingly.
“Why is it” he asked, “that we seem to spend so much time as Christians arguing about the details that separate us rather than rejoice in the Divine facts which unite us?
“One God, one Son of God, the Lord Jesus, and one Holy Spirit sent to help us and to guide us back to our Creator.
“That’s our fundamental message of Christianity” Father Ignatius declared clearly.
After a short pause, he continued:
“People today have different interpretations of what Heaven must be like. Some believe it is a physical place with buildings and a big Pearly Gate. Others see it as a state of consciousness where our souls enjoy God’s presence. In reality, we really don’t know what it’s like but we believe it exists because our Lord told us so.
“Think about it for a moment or two. What do you think Heaven is like?”
He paused again to give his parishioners time to reflect.
“You know … … Someone asked me the other day whether there are animals in Heaven. She wanted to know whether her loved pet dog will be with her there.
“Well, I don’t know about that … Imagine animals in Heaven … I’d hate to come face to face with the Sunday roast admonishing me for what I had done to it !!!”
Father Ignatius waited for the laughter to die down then went on:
“Some time ago, I came across another description of Heaven.
“Imagine for a moment that when we die and meet God, He will sit us on His lap like a loving Father sits his little child.
“And then He will show us our life all over again, exactly as we have lived it. Just like a movie.
“There, sitting on God’s knee, we will see all the good and the bad we have done. We will be reminded of all the opportunities we missed when we could have helped others less fortunate than ourselves. We will re-live all the hurt we have caused to others by what we have done or said, whether intentionally or not.
“All our sins will be there on a big screen for us to see and remember once again. Even those secret sins which we kept hidden to ourselves; never confessed, and never forgiven and absolved.
“And as we see our life once again, there, on His lap, will be our own Heaven or our own hell.”
Father Ignatius stopped for a moment to allow the message to sink in. He then went on in a more soothing voice:
“Now imagine if it were really so … Imagine that one day you will be seeing your whole life once again as a movie … Imagine that this movie or video will be made available for every one else to see …
“Imagine also that you are a famous Film Director … what a marvelous opportunity you have right now, within your grasp, to make sure your own personal movie will have a happy ending !!!”