The View from Heaven
Acts 15:1-2, 22-29
Some who had come down from Judea were instructing the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the Mosaic practice, you cannot be saved.” Because there arose no little dissension and debate by Paul and Barnabas with them, it was decided that Paul, Barnabas, and some of the others should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. The apostles and elders, in agreement with the whole church,decided to choose representatives and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. The ones chosen were Judas, who was called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers. This is the letter delivered by them: “The apostles and the elders, your brothers, to the brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia of Gentile origin: greetings. Since we have heard that some of our number who went out without any mandate from us have upset you with their teachings and disturbed your peace of mind, we have with one accord decided to choose representatives and to send them to you along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have dedicated their lives to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. So we are sending Judas and Silas who will also convey this same message by word of mouth: ‘It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols,
from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from unlawful marriage. If you keep free of these, you will be doing what is right. Farewell.’”
- We sure do get caught-up at times in our Religious traditions. Sit, kneel, stand, annul, confess, bow…..what the Scriptures have been telling us over the past few weeks, as well as across the ages, is to Love, Love, Love. “Love is all you need”……thank you Mr. Lennon for quoting Scripture! When Jesus was walking the Earth, He didn’t require a RCIA process for people to follow Him and receive His Body or Blood; He only asked for Love. The Jews offer a lot of examples of missing the bigger picture, but, I think, honestly, we all do. When I curse the guy on GA-400 or call my Son a name or get upset at the Old Timer in front of me at Wal-Mart who can’t make change or…..on and on….. In what ways are we putting “others” (people, practices, rules, etc.) in front of Jesus?
Psalms / 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
R. (4) O God, let all the nations praise you!
May God have pity on us and bless us; may he let his face shine upon us. So may your way be known upon earth; among all nations, your salvation. R. May the nations be glad and exult because you rule the peoples in equity; the nations on the earth you guide. R. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you! May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him! R.
- Nations and peoples; people in Heaven as far as the eye could see. Imagine that. Standing room only and in the center of it all, Jesus Christ on the throne of Heaven with 24 elders and 4 beasts worshiping Him. When we “Lift them up to the Lord” in the Eucharistic part of Mass, we join these Folks (and/or vise versa) in Heaven. Every week. Every Church. Everywhere. How amazing is that? Do you ever close your eyes and picture that at Mass?
Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23
The angel took me in spirit to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone, like jasper, clear as crystal. It had a massive, high wall, with twelve gates where twelve angels were stationed and on which names were inscribed, the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites. There were three gates facing east, three north, three south, and three west. The wall of the city had twelve courses of stones as its foundation, on which were inscribed the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. I saw no temple in the city for its temple is the Lord God almighty and the Lamb. The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light,and its lamp was the Lamb.
- I’m from just outside NYC. We live outside of ATL. Both, arguably, incredible feats of engineering and evolution, as well as amazing cities. But, can you even imagine something as beautiful as the new Jerusalem? My Father built high-rises for Donald Trump in NY for years. Mr. Trump never took my Dad up in his helicopter to get a bird’s-eye view of one of his buildings. John, spared the barbaric death that all of the other Apostles received, is now whisked away to see it all. Is there anything that God or one of His Angels has shared with you either visually or audibly? How did it affect you?
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, says the Lord, and my Father will love him and we will come to him. R.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me. “I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
- My Uncle Joe, a Patriarch in my Mother’s Family, just died at the age of 84 from health complications. Most of us are sad that we will not get to see him again in this life in the flesh – he was a joy to be around and full of life. It’s hard to think about how Glorious it is for the Believer that goes Home – too often, we focus on the loss that we feel and for the loss that others are feeling. Someone once told me, going Home to Heaven is the biggest job promotion we’ll ever get. While this metaphor is a bit silly, it does speak to the magnitude of where we’re going and the challenges that we will be leaving behind. Who have you lost recently in your life? Do you think they would have been better served to stay here with us longer or are better off in Heaven? Why?