Invited Into Eternity – Week 2
Sunday Readings: here.
Today, on this last day within the Octave of Easter, we continue with the second week of our series entitled “Invited into Eternity.”
As we began this series last week we said that all of salvation history, from the creation of the first human beings to the resurrection of Christ, was about inviting us to live with the Father through all eternity. The Father does everything He does, even sending His only Son to us, so that we might accept His invitation to eternal life with Him. Likewise, the Son endured all that He endured so that we might respond positively to the Father’s eternal invitation. The Father and the Son stop at nothing so that we might be coaxed into accepting eternity with Him. Yes, that’s what I said: the Father coaxes us; the Son coaxes us.
We have this idea that we are striving throughout our lives to jump through these impossible hoops that the Lord gives us and that all we can do is to hope against hope that our all-out effort will merit us a merciful judgment from the Lord. However, I don’t think that’s how the Lord sees it at all.
In the story of the Prodigal Son, the Father tells the elder son that everything he has is his and begs him to come into the party. Jesus died on the cross to open the gates of Heaven for us so that we can enter into the heavenly celebration. Now, what exactly do we do for Him? He invites us to a life of the very best kind: eternal life with Him.
Our readings today give us an example of the life to which He is inviting us:
The Acts of the Apostles say this: The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need (Acts 4:32-35).
It might be a rude awakening for us, but I think it is safe to say that in heaven there is no private property, there are no locked doors, and that no one is in need. This is the life to which we are invited, a life in which we bear powerful witness to the Lord and bask in His great favor. And we do not have to wait to accept His invitation; we can accept it now, we can live it now, we can live in His great favor now. The next step for us is to believe in Him, and that’s what the remaining readings are about.
In the second reading, St. John says that everyone who believes is begotten by God, loves the Father, obeys the commandments – which are not burdensome – and conquers the world (1 Jn 5: 1-6). And then, of course, we come to today’s Gospel in which we hear the story of doubting Thomas, who represents all of us. Jesus says to Him and us, “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed,” (Jn 20: 19-31) The Father’s invitation to eternal life is an invitation to belief; it is an invitation for us to literally conquer the world, to be free of and from locked doors, to live in great favor as beloved children of God. It is an invitation to a life of the very best kind.
- Rev. Joseph Maloney, Pastor