Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
1st Reading Daniel 12:1-3
2nd Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Responsorial: Psalm 16:5, 8-11
Gospel: Mark 13:24-32
Reflecting on Jesus’ Second Coming and Our Life in Heaven
They will see “the Son of Man coming in the clouds” with great power and glory. (Mark 13:26)
Most of us prefer to have control over our lives. We tend to do the things that will promote happiness, security, and peace; and we try to overcome our problems, our insecurities, and our pain. When we think about improving our lives, however, we tend to think almost exclusively in terms of this world. We give little or no consideration to the Second Coming of Jesus or to what life will be like in heaven.
Of course, it’s good to think about how we can improve ourselves and our world. Scripture calls us to “fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). God invites us to be co-creators with him, to use our gifts of intellect, imagination, and creativity to make this world a better and better place. But at the same time, many saints—who also dedicated themselves to improving people’s everyday lives—yearned to finally be with Jesus forever in heaven. They echoed St. Paul’s longing “to depart this life and be with Christ, for that is far better” (Philippians 1:23).
Can you imagine a place where all of our problems—crime, murder, abortion, war, poverty, division, resentment, suffering, sickness, and death—are forever vanquished? Can you even conceive of a place where people love each other all day, every day? A place where every relationship is perfect? It’s this vision that captivated the saints and filled them with longing. It’s also this vision that moved them out into the world—the hope that they could share the good news of heaven with as many people as possible.
As we near the end of another Church year, let’s take some time to imagine how beautiful heaven really is. We are on a pilgrimage to heaven, and the more we keep this thought in our minds, the more we will find ourselves encouraging other people—through our love and service—to join us on the way.
“Jesus, give me a glimpse of the glory of heaven. Lord, I want to be with you forever!”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
- In the first reading, we are reminded that at the resurrection of the dead, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake. Some shall live forever; others shall be an everlasting horror and disgrace” (Daniel 12:2). What is your reaction to these words the author of Daniel uses to describe Hell? In what way is it or isn’t it in line with your own image?
- In the light of God’s holiness and judgment on sin, and the graphic description of Hell used in the first reading, what steps can you take to grow in your relationship with the Lord, grow in holiness, and grow in faith and trust in his great love and mercy? What steps can you take to let God reveal more deeply the reality of sin in your life, and to let his love and light shine on any areas of darkness in your mind and heart?
- In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist describes the great confidence we can have when we turn to the Lord: “I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.” He goes on to remind us of the great trust we should have in the Lord who blesses his “faithful one.” For example, the Lord “will not abandon my soul to the netherworld” and “will show me the path to life.” In what ways do you believe these blessings apply to you? How would you describe the ways the Lord has blessed your life?
- In the Letter to the Hebrews, we are again reminded that we don’t face judgment in fear and trepidation, but in confidence, knowing that Christ has already paid the price for our sins: “one sacrifice for sins.” What impact does this truth have on how you live out your life? What are some areas of your life where the Lord may be asking you to be more trusting and confident in his love and in the work of the Cross?
- The Gospel reading describes, in vivid language, Jesus’ second coming to “gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky.” How would you describe the differences between Jesus’ first coming and his second coming? In what ways does reflecting on Jesus’ second coming give us joy and hope?
- The Gospel reading also exhorts us to be watchful regarding “signs” of Jesus’ second coming. What do you think are some of the signs of his second coming? How can you as a Catholic better prepare for his second coming?
- The meditation ends with these uplifting words: “As we near the end of another Church year, let’s take some time to imagine how beautiful heaven really is. We are on a pilgrimage to heaven, and the more we keep this thought in our minds, the more we will find ourselves encouraging other people—through our love and service—to join us on the way.” Do you see your life on earth as “a pilgrimage to heaven”? In what way? Do you also see the importance of “encouraging other people—through our love and service—to join us on the way”? How?
- Take some time now to pray and ask for the grace to see “a glimpse of the glory of heaven” – your home forever. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.