Yesterday we celebrated Our Lord’s returning to heaven. In leaving his disciples, he told them to announce the good news to all the world. The good news is that Jesus passed through death and was going on to his reward. But, there was more to it: he said he was going to prepare places for all of us. “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.”
When I come to think about heaven I always think of my father’s last days. Up to age ninety he had been a busy, happy man. He had a Mercury coupe that he liked “scooting” around in. Every week he had his regular poker game and two bridge games. He had a budget from the parish Holy Name Society that allowed him to buy flowers and smokes to take around to ailing members.
But at ninety all that was winding down. So, wondering what he could do next, he asked his priest son, “Tom, what is heaven really like?”
I hated to let my father down, but I have contented myself with I Corinthians, 2:9, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things that God has planned for those who love him.”
I think that means that the happiness of heaven is of such a high order, that we can’t picture it. All the Bible tells us about heaven is that we are neither married there nor are we given in marriage. That’s not much.
There is a joke about that. Maybe you have heard it. It is about a fleshy man who said, “If there is no sex how can it be heavenly?”
So, a spiritual man who knew that heaven was great had a little story to tell the fleshy man. The story was about a little boy who was the opposite of the fleshy man. When someone told the little boy that having sex was the keenest human pleasure, the little boy said, “I don’t believe it. Say, can you eat chocolate while you are doing it?”
Silly jokes aside, I have come to know a little bit about what heaven is like. I have learned it on long walks in this neighborhood. The Bible tells us that everything is created in God’s image. God is like lightly clouded skies, only much finer. He is like trees putting out leaves, only fresher. He is like a baby’s laughter, only more endearing.
The good things in life are little tastes put here to make us yearn for the real thing.