Jesus rose from the dead showing us that our earthly death is not the end of our existence. We are more than just physical beings in that we have eternal souls. Jesus calls everyone to a new life with Him for all eternity. We should all remember that our lives here on earth are only temporary. What’s a few decades on this planet compared to the infinity of the next life? I’m not saying that our earthly lives are unimportant. We must make the most of what God has given us and live to the best of our abilities. But we should remember that there is more to our existence than what we can see and hear.
If we are eternal beings, why do so many of us live as if our entire existence is bound to this world? The news is filled with accounts of people trying to accumulate as much wealth and power as they possibly can regardless of the effects. We live in a culture where people live only for the moment without regard for the consequences in this life, let alone the next one. We continually commit all the oldest sins in the book (lie, cheat, steal, lust, greed, anger, envy, etc.) as if they were virtues because we have this misguided notion that as long as no one finds out, we did not do anything wrong. As humans our faith is inherently weak. We hear that there is more to our existence than this world. We might even say we believe it. We proclaim it every time we pray The Creed. And yet, we frequently do not have enough faith in those words to put away our sinful ways and fully embrace the life of grace to which Jesus calls us.
A priest on ETWN once told a parable that I think communicates this mystery’s message quite well. He likened this world to a giant land bridge. The bridge is so long and wide that it appears more like a continent than a crossing. We hear that at the end of the bridge there is a place more glorious than whatever we can imagine. And yet, so many people, not believing what lies ahead, build their entire kingdom on the bridge. They believe their castles and treasures are all they need and they ridicule those who do not built their own castles but continue on their journey. The kings shout, “Don’t you know there is nothing on the other end? Why don’t you build yourself a castle and gather as many riches as you can?” However, one day the oceans rose and submerged the land bridge taking all the castles with it. The travelers, always packing lightly and moving with haste, made it to the other side safely while the kings drowned trying to hold on to as much treasure as possible.
The moral of the story is that those who only live for this world (the bridge) might not make it to the other side (Heaven). It is those who remember that bridges are not permanent and always make their focus the “other side” who will make it into Christ’s kingdom. So, are you a king or a traveler? How many times are you like the kings and do not believe that there is more than what you can see, hear, and touch? How many times do you live only for this world despite the calling that Jesus desperately wants you to live for His kingdom in Heaven? He rose to a new life much like we will rise to a new life after our earthly death. The question is, will you be so bound by the treasures of this world that you did not make room in your heart for the treasures of Heaven?
This mystery makes clear that Jesus conquered sin and death, rose to new life, and He calls us to a new life with Him. He gives hope to everyone who tries to live honestly and faithfully despite the hardship it causes in a world that values immediate gratification. Those who are truly faithful realize that there is nothing that can be gained here on earth that remotely matches what can be gained in Heaven. We should pray that we gather the strength to live for Jesus’ kingdom in Heaven despite all the temptations that bombard us to live only for this world. We must also pray for those who live only for this world and do not have the faith that a much better life lies ahead.