My Forever Home
April 30, 2021 (readings)
- Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter
- Fr. James Swanson, LC
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Opening Prayer: Help me open my spiritual eyes to see what you have prepared for me in heaven.
Mansions for the Apostles: Jesus saw that the Apostles were troubled. In the last hours of his life, he spoke to them from his heart and comforted them. Although he was to be separated from them and killed, he promised that afterward they would be reunited in a wonderful place, a place where they would have a very special home prepared for each of them; some translations call them mansions. In spite of what would soon happen, nothing could separate them forever. He would come for them and, together, they would live in this place of joy, happiness, and peace.
Jesus Knew Exactly What They Liked: The Apostles came from different backgrounds and liked different things. For their heavenly mansions, maybe the fishermen among them would enjoy a property near a lake, with a boat to sail in every day. Matthew, a former tax collector used to finer living, might like a mansion with fine meals and good music. Jesus, without asking, was preparing for each one of them the things they would most appreciate. They would be awed by Jesus’s generosity, and he would delight in surprising them with new gifts and new experiences every day.
My Mansion in Heaven: Jesus has a mansion prepared for each one of us as well. Sometimes it is worthwhile to imagine what that mansion would be like. Would it be big or small? How many stories? What rooms? How would they be decorated? What kind of food? What kind of music? And where would the doors open? My mansion includes a door that opens to the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy, another in central Alaska, another in the Alps above Lake Geneva, another in the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula, and so on—all places I’ve enjoyed in my life. Every day, Jesus and I would pick a door and walk out to enjoy one of those places together, and before long we would have used up the places I know, and then Jesus would start surprising me by choosing places I’ve never been to but that he knows I would like. No matter what we imagine, or what we think our heavenly home might be like, Jesus tells us it will be better. As St. Paul says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor can the mind of man imagine what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, in spite of the difficulties of this life, I can’t lose sight of the fact that it is all worthwhile. What you have prepared for me is so wonderful that in spite of my trying to imagine every detail, I will never come close to knowing how great it will actually be. When I am discouraged or down, remind me that my sacrifices and suffering are worth it because I want to spend eternity with you in the mansion you have prepared for me in heaven!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace, I will try to accept sacrifice with a more positive attitude–even joy–encouraged by the thoughts of what you have prepared for me in heaven.
For Further Reflection: Heaven, the Heart's Deepest Longing by Peter Kreeft.
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