When Father Belchner buried his sister last week everyone was sad. She as too young, with too many people who loved her, too religious, too good.
But then, for just a moment, Father wondered aloud what it would be like when she got to heaven. And amidst the angst and the gloom there was an almost whimsical breath of joy at the thought of what it will be like.
Saint Benedict famously speculated in the same way in his last meeting with his sister Scholastica on what he called the “mutual comfort of heavenly talk.”
It’s the way I felt when I buried my father fours years ago and spoke of “that same heaven for which our aching hearts long...that paradise, where we pray that one day he will run out to meet us and we will be together with Christ, with perfect love, forever singing the praise of God in the presence of the angels.”
It is that heaven for which we long and where we pray to be with God in perfect peace.
And today Isaiah gives us a glimpse at what that Heaven, that Messianic Kingdom, that New Jerusalem will be like. “I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight,” the Lord says through his Prophet. “I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people. No longer shall the sound of weeping be heard there, or the sound of crying…”
The author of the Book of Revelation builds on Isaiah’s description, calling this Holy City ”God’s dwelling place…where we will be his people, and he will be our God…He will wipe every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying out or pain.”
That is what we long for, my brothers, and it is that city for which we were made. We are strangers and aliens in this valley of tears where what lasts is seen darkly in a mirror. But in that Blessed Homeland we shall see clearly and praise him forever in peace.