Life is often seen as a journey to God that begins at conception... and ends at death.
The start of the journey can be difficult. Some people are given many advantages... while others have very few.
But who you are at the end of your journey... is more important than what you had at the start.
Your birth is your boarding pass. Your ticket lists your destination as “Union with God.”
The train stops at many stations
Some of the stations are School… Employment… Marriage… and later, Hospital and Nursing Home. These stops may be a source of success and joy… or failure and sorrow.
Many people acquire unwanted baggage — failed relationships, missed opportunities… or things done and words said that can’t be changed. Thanks be to God, Christ loves us and forgives our failures when we ask Him.
When we are young, the train seems to go slowly and there are many stations to visit. As we get older, the train seems to go much faster and the stops become fewer and fewer.
Eventually the final stop does not seem so far away
The death of a relative or friend well before their time disturbs us greatly. It becomes clear that we could be put off the train at any time.
Although the way ahead may not be perfectly clear, we fear no evil for our Father is always with us.
“Even to your old age I am the same, even when your hair is gray I will hear you; it is I who have done this, I who will continue and I who will carry you to safety” (Isaiah 46:4).
Finally that special day arrives
The train stops and our journey ends. All the trials of our life are now over. For those who have tried to follow Jesus... He awaits you.
What words and images can begin to describe our meeting with God? Human love is but a pale shadow of His love for us.
For eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.
Catholics believe that our body will rise again at the end of time, and our souls will be reunited with our bodies. This body of ours will be the glorified form of the body we have now.
And as St. Paul states in 1 Cor. 15:12-14, we believe in the resurrection of the body precisely because Jesus Christ rose from the dead. “Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
This makes this question more than a mere technicality. This doctrine is central to our belief as Christians.
This belief did not begin with the Incarnation of Christ. David looked forward to seeing his son again after his death. Ezekiel speaks of the dead rising up from their graves, a prophecy that is fulfilled after the Crucifixion. So those who reach heaven can look forward to seeing their loved ones there, in flesh and in spirit.
Just as Jesus rose from the dead, we hope that as a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, we will live in heaven with the risen Lord and He will raise the bodies of each of the faithful on the last day.