Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8:18-25; Luke 13:18-21)
Once before the trend against apartheid in South Africa gained momentum, a Christian minister was asked if Nelson Mandela would ever be released from prison. The minister did not hesitate a second to say of course he would be “even if it is ten years after his death.” Then he explained that the Blacks of South Africa equated their freedom with Mandela’s release. And they were absolutely sure that one day they would be liberated. Such is the hope of which St. Paul writes in today’s first reading.
Paul is certain that his fellow Christians will experience the glory of the resurrected Christ. But he is not sure when and how this revelation will come about nor even what it will look like. This is akin to saying that heaven is an unknown quantity still to be revealed. But Paul is not troubled by the wait in darkness. He realizes that true hope does not involve things that can be seen, but mysteries of which humans can only imagine.
What will heaven be like? A city with roads paved in gold? A telephone that translates our thoughts into words without our having to say or write anything? These kinds of commodities could hardly approach the glory of Christ. Let us dream some more. Heaven is where everyone treats us like we want to be treated, and we treat everyone with equal attention. It is feeling so secure about being loved that we are kind to everyone. It is the peace of being surrounded by friends and enjoying a hearty meal. Heaven is worth waiting for with endurance.