Today’s Scriptures invite us to think about life after death. Jesus is very clear about life after death. We believe that life does not end at death, but changes. We read in today’s gospel: The children of this age marry and remarry; but those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and the Resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. Jesus promised Martha and Mary that their brother, Lazarus would rise.
“I know he will rise again,” Martha replied, “in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her: I am the resurrection and the life… (Jn11:24-25)
St. Paul tells us: As you well know, we have our citizenship in heaven; it is there that we eagerly await the coming our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will give a new form to this lowy body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of his glorified body, by the power to subject everything to himself. (Phil3:20-21)
What is this life (after death) like? Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him. (1Cor2:9) The life of the blessed in heaven is beyond our wildest imagination.
Jesus also speaks of another state of existence, after death. In the Parable of the Last Judgment, referring to those who neglected the works of mercy: Out of my sight, you condemned, into that everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. This parable clearly states that hell is an eternal separation from God.
The Catholic Church teaches about a third state of existence after death, called purgatory, where one is purified and prepared for entrance into the beatific vision in heaven. We know that to enter into the presence of the Holy Trinity we must be perfected in love. “Those who die in God’s grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.” (Catechism #1024) We remember these holy souls in purgatory, on November 2nd and everyday of the year in our prayers, sacrifices and most especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – the greatest and most efficacious offering for the souls in purgatory.
The love of Jesus Christ never waivers. Jesus is reaching out to each one of us this very moment, so we may experience his love more and more. Jesus’s mercy is inexhaustible. Let’s seek Jesus in His mercy, especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation – so we may be prepared for our entrance into eternal life, whenever that moment may come!
God bless us all always!