Fifth Sunday of Easter
Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant
us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way,
the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his
steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ
your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen..
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more.
There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
- Revelation 21:4 (CEB)
Invariably, all conversations seem to wind down to a couple of common subjects: weather, Marvel universe films and series, bodily functions, our next meal, just to name a few. In the house of those of us in religious life, they seem to end up talking about end times, both ours and cosmos. In either case, the difference between believers and non-believers is notable, but so is the difference in the way believers understand the meaning of existence and what our next iteration may have in store.
I'd like to believe, as I have said before, that the next chapter in my existence won't be just like a really good day in northwestern Pennsylvania, surrounded by family, friends, and food. I'd like to believe that it won't be a reunion with others, where old relationship challenges carry through into eternity. I'd like to believe that, as we come into the presence of God, that our eternal lives will be different from our corporal, temporal oriented existence.
These are not mere wishes for me, nor should they be for any Christian. They are our Christian hope - with a true expectation of the glory to come. The Revelation of John is not some kind of Nostradamus predictor of the future; rather, it was and is a way of looking at the world, seeing where we are situated, and asserting how our faith and hope in Resurrection frames every moment of our lives.
Christian hope is the knowledge that all has changed as a result of the Incarnation, the Passion, the Resurrection, and the Ascension. Our very understanding of the intimate relation of God to God's Creation has been reframed and transformed. Our participation in God's redemption of the universe means that we must not ever doubt God's dominion over that Creation.
And we must ground our faith in Love. Love is the most common word in the writings of the Johannine community (the Gospel of John, the Letters of John, and the Revelation of John). This love is shared with us by God, and we, in turn, as those whose lives have been reframed and transformed by our very personal experience of the Risen Lord, are commanded to show that same love to others.
Our life after this life will be one of immersion in God's love. That is what I believe, this is what I expect, and that is what fills me with hope.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!