Saturday, 27 August 2016

Go to Heaven - Go directly to Heaven - Do not pass GO - Do Not Collect ...

One day a priest approached the lectern on Sunday and asked: "Raise your hands if you are going to Heaven!"

The whole congregation raised their hands enthusiastically. The priest looked around the church for a while and eventually noticed, in the third row on the left, a man sitting there with his hands on his lap. He was impressed at the humility of the man. "How humble," he thought, "not to presume that he will go to Heaven, but no doubt striving to be there some day".

He asked the congregation to lower their hands and then he asked the man: "Why did you not raise your hand?"

The man replied: "I'm not sure I want to go to Heaven if they'll all be there!"

And that's the point I suppose. We all believe that we are going to Heaven some day. We all feel that we are worthy enough to be there. After all, we go to church on Sundays, we say our prayers, sometimes, we are generally good people; so why shouldn't we be there? Even people who do not believe in God, when asked whether they'd prefer to go to Heaven or hell they choose to go to Heaven.

We treat Heaven, however we might visualise it to be, as a luxury hotel where we will be welcomed with open arms, and indeed the current residents will be honoured to have us there. We look forwards to spending an eternity with God, without even considering whether He wants to spend an eternity with us. We judge ourselves according to our standards and forget that God has His own standards as to whom He will welcome with open arms.

"Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do." Matthew 7:21

In other words - There are no parrots in Heaven.

Despite what some people might think, that there are animals in Heaven; and that they'll be re-united with their pets one day. Personally, I hope there are no animals up there; because I'd hate to come face to face with the Sunday roast admonishing me for having eaten it. But I digress.

I am not one of those people who believes we have to work hard and strive to enter Heaven; and that it is all to do with good works and sacrifices and we enter Heaven on our own merit.

Of course, our actions and behaviours do have a bearing as to whether we are worthy to spend an eternity with our loving Creator; but there's more to it than that.

What is the point of going to church regularly and forever praying when we do not even notice Lazarus starving at our gate?

What is the point in proclaiming we are Christians and we believe in God when our behaviour bears no resemblance to God's love as personified by Christ? Even the devil believes in God, but his actions are hardly to be emulated.

What is the point of lighting candles and placing flowers in church, serving on church committees and doing all sorts of other voluntary work if our life-style is hardly Christ-like?

So if our prayers, our devotions, our belief  in God and good works by themselves are not enough; what should we do to enter Heaven?

Let us remember that we cannot buy our way into Heaven. All our good deeds, prayers, lit candles, flowers and even giving money to charity will not by themselves open Heaven's gate for us. What is missing from our actions is love.

God loves us so much that His invitation to Heaven is open to anyone who loves Him back and trusts Him in all things.

Our relationship with God should be a one-to-one relationship, built on love, trust and respect. Not on fear that we might not meet His demanding standards to enter His Kingdom. If fear there is, it should be the fear of hurting Him and disappointing Him by our behaviour. Very much as a good son would fear hurting his parents by his actions.
FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE
Father Francis Maple O.F.M Cap. in one of his sermons makes a good point about our relationship with God by referring to a leaning tree. Here's what he says:
 
I think of a life as a tree. If a tree leans in one direction when it dies it will fall in that direction. It is not going to fall in the opposite direction. So, too, with our lives. If all the time we are leaning towards God, very likely, with God's grace we shall fall into His arms when we die. But if our lives never point to God, it is very likely that when we die we shall die in enmity with God.

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6 comments:

  1. Agree that it wouldn't be much fun to meet up with the bearer of the roast you had for Sunday dinner! Perfect love casts out fear and God is perfect love, and Christ is within us, so when looking toward Him we are never in fear. I want to fall into the arms of Jesus as such a safe place to be and He wants me there! It's a minute by minute choice to be looking toward his eternal arms rather than the master of this temporal world. Another great post V!

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    1. It's so nice to see you visiting me here again, Lynn. Thanx.

      As you rightly say, we should look forwards to falling into His loving arms.

      God bless you.

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  2. "I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6 "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" Ephesians 2:8-9 We can never be good enough, my friend, Jesus is the key!
    Blessings!

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    1. So brilliantly put, Lulu. I could not agree more. Well said.

      We can never be good enough to enter Heaven. Jesus is the way.

      God bless you.

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  3. This is such a great post Victor. Our priest had a similar homily where he noted that most people think they are going to Heaven. But he noted that just showing up to mass each week was enough.

    I really like the quote about the leaning tree. A great analogy for our lives.

    God Bless you.

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    1. Thank you Michael for your kind comments. I too, like the quote from Father Francis. Next month he celebrates 60 years as a priest.

      God bless you my friend.

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