Before I share the thought that was given to me through Scripture and prayer, I do want it understood that thoughts of the afterlife, of eternal reward or punishment, don’t influence the choices that I make here and now. Making decisions based on the question “What’s in it for me, ultimately?” just seems wrong. I love because I am loved – because I was loved into being and loving is the way of my being. I choose the good in life because goodness is the truth of life. Okay, that may sound a little gobbledygook-mumbo-jumbo, spiritually esoteric, but I’ll go into it more in another post sometime. It suffices to say, before continuing to the point of this post, that I love the here and now and am not aching with any kind of longing for the life of the world to come.
(But, maybe I should…)
The Wedding Feast in Cana
This was the gospel reading for this past Sunday. It so happened that, the week before, while reflecting upon this Mystery in praying the Rosary, I thought more deeply upon the first thing that Jesus said in this account. And the thought led to another, which led to another…
Jesus asked his mother of what concern the lack of wine was to him or to her. He told her that it was not yet his time, that his hour had not yet come. What did that mean, really? Would his mother have known what that meant? I had once heard it explained that the “time” referred to the start of his ministry, like, it was not yet time for his ministry to begin, for him to perform miracles. Like his hour of fame hadn’t come, yet. The more common understanding is that the “hour” is about Jesus’s passion, death, Resurrection, and Ascension. But that doesn’t completely explain what Jesus was talking about. I began understanding that the reference was more about the true Reign of Jesus, his eternal hour, if you will – Heaven.
It’s like Jesus was saying, “So, they ran out of wine. So what? That happens all the time on earth, in this world. Of course, at the end of time, in the New Heaven and the New Earth, there will be endless plenty. No one will ever run out of anything that they need or that they desire, for their desires will be pure and their hearts will be satisfied in the Kingdom that is Heaven. But, that’s not here, not now, not yet.”
As I continued praying, the understanding of “Not Here, Not yet” came through in each Mystery. Still in Cana, those who did not “drink their fill” of the first wine offered were the only ones who were able to truly and fully enjoy the superior wine that Jesus offered. The wine of this world is good and beautiful – but we shouldn’t get drunk on it, because the best is yet to come. Best to stay sober, awake, alert. Only if we leave room, make room, make way, for the best can we truly receive the best.
Proclamation of the Kingdom and the Call
In this Mystery, we reflect upon Jesus as he prepared people – preparing our hearts and minds – for life in the world to come. He did not say that the poor are blessed because material poverty is the best thing that you can ever have forever. But, it is a good thing to be unattached to material wealth in this life, because then we will be free to experience and receive what is to come. Not finding all of our happiness here and now is actually a blessing – because then our hearts will still long for complete happiness, which is ultimately found in the pure, uninhibited presence of God in Heaven. Applying this to all of the Beatitudes makes them more understandable – and, hopefully, livable.
The disciples on mount Tabor were given an incredibly amazing vision and they wanted to build tents on the mountaintop for Jesus and Moses and Elijah – right here, right now. They thought that this beautiful experience on earth was the ultimate of glory. But, it wasn’t. While still living on earth, they, we, cannot be fully and knowingly in the unmasked presence of God – and this fact was made clear when the Voice spoke and the disciples trembled. After, it was only Jesus standing before them, wearing ordinary clothes, a bit sweaty, dust on his feet – this is what is here in this life. But, because the disciples continued to follow him and to listen to him, they came to experience the ultimate in glory as Holy Ones of God in Heaven. If we, too, listen to Jesus and follow His Teachings, then we will be able to experience, in the life of the world to come, the full glory of which that vision of the Transfiguration only offered a glimpse.
The Institution of Holy Eucharist
In this Mystery, we reflect upon the meal that Jesus shared with his disciples on the night before he was crucified. The earthly meal itself is a meal – but it signifies so much more. The disciples themselves couldn’t even know what Jesus’s words fully meant until after his Resurrection. Even then, the significance and meaning remained Mystery because it is Mystery. Although under the appearance of earthly bread and wine in this life, the Sacrament of the Eucharist that we receive and share is foretaste of the Heavenly banquet that has no end in the life of the world to come.
Like Paul Said
Celebrating the Conversion of St. Paul on Monday, let’s sum up with some of his words: “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.”
The infinite fullness of bliss and glory is coming – not here, not yet… but soon, and for the rest of our eternal lives.
© 2016 Christina Chase
 1 Corinthians 13:12
Although crippled by disease, I'm fully alive in love. I write about the terrible beauty and sacred wonder of life, while living with physical disability and severe dependency. A revert to the Catholic faith through atheism, I'm not afraid to ask life's big questions. I explore what it means to be fully human through my weekly blog and have written a book: It's Good to Be Here, published by Sophia Institute Press.