Gospel Reflection - Sunday 25th October 2020

Our Lord says the greatest commandment is: “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” God’s plan is for us to love Him as much as the saints do in Heaven. The saints in Heaven are completely and totally in love with God. God is their “all and everything.” Nothing else comes close, everything else is a far second. Compared to God, ‘almost’ everything else doesn’t exist. The saints in Heaven love God with “all their heart, with all their soul and with all their mind.”

In John’s First Letter, Chapter 3, verse 2, it says that when we are in heaven ‘we shall be like God for we shall see Him as He is.” When the saints look at God, each saint gets the impression that, in God’s mind, each of them is the only one in existence. God looks at each of the saints, and also each one of us, as if each one of us were the only thing in existence. God can do that. You and I can’t do that, but God can, and does do that. God looks at you as if He, God, exists only for you and God looks at you with infinite love, a love that consumes Himself to the point of extinction. In fact, that is how Our Lord died. He didn’t die due to crucifixion, He died because of Love for us, a love for us so great that His Love consumed Himself to extinction. Therefore, when a person looks at God they are perfectly fulfilled and they can’t imagine being more fulfilled. However, because God’s love is infinite or always more, the saints in heaven, increasingly experience higher levels of fulfilment, and that happens for all eternity.

St Paul teaches us in 1 Cor 2:9: “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of a man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” St Cyprian wrote: “How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God … in the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Catholic Catechism of the Church states that the saints in heaven “live in Christ.” (n.1025) St Paul in Ephesians 3:21 writes that the saints in heaven are “filled with the utter fullness of God.” Therefore, the saints in heaven are one in God and full of God, like Our Blessed Mother who the Bible says is “full of Grace” or “full of God” while she was living in the kingdom on earth. The remarkable claim here, is that Our Blessed Mother, while living in this Kingdom on earth shared in the same state as the saints in Heaven – one in God and full of God. This gift is given to our Guardian Angels. As Our Lord said about our Guardian Angels: they “always see the face of God” even while they are with us here on earth. Our Blessed Mother experienced God’s Kingdom – heaven – while living in this kingdom on earth, because she is the Immaculate Conception and therefore, not subject to the Original Sin or the Fall.

Our Lord did say: “The Kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21) and “if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Mt. 18:5) This is particularly obvious because the Eucharist is here in this kingdom on earth. As the Eucharist is Our Lord, then, Our Lord is here on earth and because Our Lord is here, God’s Kingdom is here. Therefore, like Our Blessed Mother and our Guardian Angel we can enter into God’s Kingdom – heaven – anytime we like. Whenever we are in the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, we are in Heaven. We may not feel we are in heaven, but we are. This Kingdom is not our home, God’s Kingdom is our home. The things of this world only lead us to death. Our Lord is inviting us into His Kingdom where the saints in heaven love God “with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their mind.”

Fr. Doug Harris 2020