When Jesus called Matthew, a tax collector, to follow him, he did not choose somebody with exceptional qualities. He knew Matthew was a sinner, a stranger to God. This call reveals that God is rich in his goodness and mercy.
In the same way Jesus calls us not because we are good, but because He is good. He always invites us to something good.
Although people may not see anything special in this call, we believers quickly realize that each one of us has a divine vocation far greater than what we can imagine. We are called together not just to a good fellowship, but to a divine communion. Great things happen when God is mixing with us.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Here is truly the image of heaven: God and his people together in goodness.
August 15 is the feast of the Assumption. The Assumption of Mary means Mary is taken up (assumed) into heaven.
Heaven is our true home. The desire for heaven and the fear of hell must be present in our hearts. For us who are lovers of heaven, we go beyond desires and reproduce in our everyday life the virtues that adorned Mary as the most beautiful creature from the hands of God.
One “must have” quality that Mary had was prayer life. Mary treasured all things in her heart. In our own lives we count God’s blessings prayerfully and reflect on them in our hearts. The prayers that we learn at home are often the same prayers which enrich us in life.
As people who long for heaven, we meditate on everyday events which can trigger in us the most sincere prayers. Our journey to heaven must have aspiration from God who continues to give us hopeful outlook on every event in life.
Some of us think that getting to heaven is easy. As we cruise along the highways of life, we convince ourselves that we can easily get to heaven because we are good people. We have forgotten that it is all about God’s grace (help). We act as if we were good enough and it is just a matter of time that we would get to heaven.
We not only act as if we can save ourselves, we also think we can save the world. It is like saying that the merit of redemption is accomplished, now it is time to enjoy it without further conversion and growth. We refuse to engage in transformation into Christ. We make up the idea that being a Christian means that already we got the ticket to heaven.
But the real truth is that we must go through death and resurrection of Christ to become a new person and it all depends on God’s help at every single step of life. Nobody can get to heaven without God’s help. We must pray earnestly for that gift: Thy Kingdom come!
Archbishop Oscar Romero reminds us, “We are workers, not master builders, ministers not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”
If college education is just to make money, we are heading in the wrong direction. We are losing our way to Heaven. College is truly is about finding God in life. And God will show us who we should be.
God has a plan for each one of us. It is essential to understand our role in the life of the world and in the church: What does God want from us and what does the church need from us?
In the catechism we have three important questions:
What is man?
Why did God make you?
What must I do to save my soul?
If God is our love, He deserves the best we have to offer. God made us so that we may love Him forever in Heaven. Selfishness (love of self) is a big obstacle.
When people ask Jesus the question of how to get to Heaven, Jesus answers by talking about denying self and taking up the cross. Astounding! Jesus asks us to make a big sacrifice. Being a person of God, we raise our life ideal to the highest level of sacrifice for God. With that great love of God we can make a big difference in the world and in the church.
Heaven is not something we look up to and has nothing to do with our everyday life. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come!” Our Christian faith dictates that heaven must be present in us now, lest it becomes just a dream.
If we live our lives just to get ourselves to a distant heaven, disregarding the welfare of neighbors, then heaven would be the most selfish scheme among all other selfish endeavors. Heaven must become a critique for our Christian life.
If the love of God is going weak and being replaced by a fixation on passing things, then heaven must evoke change in us. Heaven also gives us a new energy to our hard working life. It helps us to be patient and perseverant as we go through the many trials of life. Certainly suffering and trials not only train our hearts to be more human, but they also lift us up to our heavenly Kingdom.
Christians are pilgrims, not settlers. We constantly make our journey to heaven. Every step of this present life is transitional. We move on with the view of eternal life as our destination.
The roads we travel are not free of troubles. We move along and may hit a few bumps, but we do not give up. Many things fall upon us without our choices. Difficulties in life like disappointments, broken promises and misunderstandings add much hardship to our journey.
Yet we continue on. We work hard with the one goal: Heaven with God. We do not sleep on achievements lest the purpose and direction of the journey might change to self satisfaction and not the glory of God. Here and there failures will teach us humility. Yet our strength is renewed because God is our companion every step of the way.