Saturday, October 06, 2012

A Little Hint of Heaven

That's what today's Mass readings suggest to me: a clue about the life we are meant to live in Heaven.

There's a first stage of that revelation in the reading from the conclusion of the book of Job. After all his anguish and loss, Job "meets" God, surrenders to His mysterious providence, and enjoys the rewards. For the people of the time, sheep numbering in the tens of thousands (not to mention the six thousand camels, thousand yoke of oxen and thousand she-asses) was a deliriously enthralling prospect. Add to that seven sons ("perfect!") and three lovely daughters, and Job could be considered the most blessed man ever to live.

But wait, there's more! Because God didn't make us to find all our happiness is sheep and camels, or even in our most beloved family members. God made us for an even more perfect happiness, and that is what we see in the Gospel for today.

There are three words that the first reading and the Gospel have in common today, and they are words that could sum up the whole Bible: blessed, eye, see. Job said to God, "I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you." And the story continues, "Thus the Lord blessed the latter days of Job..." In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see...." Whereas for Job,  blessing and the vision are two distinct things (Job has seen the Lord, and the Lord blesses him with abundant sheep and camels),  in the Gospel, the blessing is in the vision itself. "No one knows who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."

And who might that be? The very ones standing there before him, with their reports of healing miracles, and raisings from the dead, and demons cast out. Looking at them, Jesus sees the Father's eternal plan beginning to take shape on the earth. And Jesus "at that very moment" himself "rejoices in the Holy Spirit" and begins to praise the Father right out loud for hiding the secrets of Heaven from the sophisticates of the world, and revealing them to the childlike. Jesus rejoices that their names were written in heaven, while they, dumbfounded, witnessed what Jesus' inner life was from all eternity (and what theirs--and ours--is promised to be): a rejoicing in the Holy Spirit that issues forth in praise of the Heavenly Father.

It's all summed up so neatly in the final verse of today's Responsorial Psalm:
The revelation of your words sheds light,
giving understanding to the simple.

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