Did you ever stop to think of how fortunate we are to be living in the time of the New Covenant? If we die today, it is possible for us to go to Heaven where we can spend eternity with God in perfect happiness. Jesus made this possible, when He became Man and died on the cross for our sins. Without His sacrifice eternal life in Heaven would be unachievable.
The first reading from today’s Mass (Heb 12:18-19, 21-24) contrasts the Old and the New Covenant. For thousands of years before the time of Christ, people died every day and were unable to go to Heaven. They worshipped a God who they couldn’t see and who they didn’t understand very well. They knew, however, that one day a savior would be sent who would deliver them from their suffering. Unfortunately, their limited concept of life after death led them to believe that the Savior would deliver them from earthly suffering and would reign from a throne. The Savior who did come promised instead to free us from eternal suffering and would reign from a cross!
In today’s gospel (Mk 6:7-13), Jesus sent His Apostles to preach a message of repentance. By repenting from sin and following God’s commandments as presented through His Church, it is possible for us to spend eternal life worshipping Him in Heaven. There will be no more suffering, no more worries, and no more sickness. There will be nothing but happiness and peace and it will last forever.
While all of this is possible only through the merit of Christ, we still need to hold up our end of the bargain by repenting and following His commandments. Also, because nothing impure can enter Heaven (Rev 21:27), we may have to undergo purification in purgatory. However that is a temporary process and we know that after being purified we will be with The Lord in His heavenly kingdom.
In a few weeks, the season of Lent will be upon us. This is an excellent time for us to look at the state of our life and determine where repentance is needed. When it gets difficult, just keep your eye “on the prize”…
Eternal happiness with The Lord!