Pope Francis used the opportunity of his homily at Mass in Casa Santa Marta on Friday morning to remind Christians that Heaven is not a boring place but one of eternal joy in a face-to-face encounter with Jesus.
The Pontiff spoke after the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles in which St Paul tells the assembled Jews that the Judeans at the time of Christ had not recognised Jesus and condemned him to death. Christ’s subsequent Resurrection however, was the fulfilment of God’s Promise and the people of God walked with this promise in their heart, knowing they were “the elect”.
The Pope then reflected on every Christian’s earthly journey to Heaven: “We, too are in movement along the path. When asked where we are heading, we say, ‘Towards heaven!’ ‘So what’s heaven?’ some ask. There we begin to be unsure in our response. We don’t know how best to explain heaven. Often we picture an abstract and distant heaven… And some think: ‘But won’t it be boring there for all eternity?’ No! That is not heaven. We are on the path towards an encounter: the final meeting with Jesus. Heaven is the encounter with Jesus.”
“But what does Jesus do in the meantime?” the Pope asked. As John’s Gospel tells us, he said, Jesus is working for us and praying for us.
Pope Francis recalled Jesus’s words at the Last Supper, when he promises Peter he will pray for him.
“Each of us must say: ‘Jesus is praying for me, working to prepare me a place.’ He is faithful. He does so because he has promised it. Heaven will be this encounter, this meeting with the Lord who went ahead to prepare a place for each of us. This increases our faith.”
Finally, Pope Francis said, Jesus is the priestly intercessor, right up to the end of the world.
“May the Lord give us the awareness of walking along a path with this promise. May the Lord give us the grace to look upwards toward Heaven and think: ‘The Lord is praying for me’.”
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