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What is heaven like? | Father Ken Mazur

“And he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive.” Luke 20:38

We’ve all thought about it. Some think it’s paradise, some think it’s paved with gold streets. Most of us think at least those that we have loved and lost will be there. One of my friend’s mothers told me that she thought heaven was going to be her and her family, sitting around the kitchen table, together again for Sunday dinner. Certainly many believe that, whatever heaven is, you’ll be surrounded by those that you love. Another friend of mine who lives in New York thinks heaven is sitting in the bleachers at the Met’s stadium with a beer in one hand and a hot dog that has no fat, no cholesterol in the other hand. And the Mets are always winning. And if you know the Met’s, they’re kind of like the Lions: they don’t win very much. So that’s what their idea of Heaven is. Pope Francis told us recently, and he didn’t really come out and say it this way, but he kind of gave the impression that our pets will be in heaven. Although he didn’t actually say there’s going to be animals there. Like all of us, he’s never been to heaven. So none of us really know. But Jesus reminds us, in the stories of the seven brothers and the other seven brothers, that heaven is a place for the living. It’s in living a life that’s a little bit different, or maybe even a lot different than the life we had.

Jesus is the God of the living. He’s not the god of the dead. And so whatever it is that would make us most happy, is what heaven is going to be. And more than anything else, what would make us happy? More than anything else what would make us happy would be to be in that awesome, majestic, magnificent presence of God of which we have no clue. We can’t even imagine the joy of this presence because we’re mere humans living on this mere earth with all of its flaws and all of our flaws. Heaven will be a total happiness because we will be in God’s complete presence.

As we get ready to baptize Liliana, we will say we believe in the communion of saints. Communion of saints does not mean the Saints going to communion. It’s the Union of those here on Earth and all those who are in heaven. And we are united in some special bond that even Earthly death can’t break. And we don’t know what that life is like, but we know we are living together with those who are in heaven now.

Jesus is the God of the living, he is not the god of the dead. He is the God that will show us his awesome, magnificent Majesty when we get there. When somebody dies here on Earth we know and care for that person so you feel sad. But it’s much more than that. Just the other day one of our priests passed away so we went down to Ohio for his funeral. He was my high-school teacher, I knew him when I was 14. So I’ve known him for almost 50 years. So it was very much a pleasure for me to be able to celebrate his funeral, pass him off to God, and let everyone now as he already knows, that awesome Majesty of being in God’s presence. Our God is the God of the living, not of the dead.