Letting Love Prepare Us for Heaven

A homily for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe

I was at the Philippines Bureau of Immigration office in Intramuros a few months ago to renew my two year missionary visa. I was sort of discouraged when I was handed what I considered a pretty long list of requirements for the visa renewal. A Filipino faithful told me a few days later that those my requirements for a Filipino visa were nothing compared to the list of requirements he needed to secure a tourist visa to the United States! I found some consolation by putting things in perspective.

How readily we go to great lengths to secure visas to remain in or to visit other countries? We do not question the requirements, their number or the rationale behind many of the outrageous requirements for visas. We simply take them as facts and dutifully try to meet these all these requirements at all cost.

But we must ask, “Do we know what the requirements for entering the kingdom of heaven are? How ready are we to obediently meet these requirements? Do we willingly try to meet these requirements or do we do so grudgingly and with complaints?”

The good news is that there is one and only one requirement to enter the kingdom of heaven and that is loving action i.e. action that shows our love for God and love for our neighbors for God’s own sake.

Loving action remains the only requirement to enter into heaven for three reasons:

First of all, Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe is the King of love. All things belong to Him by nature, “All things were created through Him and for him; in Him everything continues in being.” (Col 1:16) Yet He chose to make us His own by His loving self-sacrifice for us on the cross, “He died for us, that all of us, whether awake or asleep, together might live with Him.”(1Thes 5:10) He conquered all by love, uniting, associating and identifying Himself with us sinners as the Son of Man so that “by means of Him, God reconciles everything in His person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of His cross.”(Col 1:19-20) Despite all that He did and endured out of love for us, Jesus never forces or threatens us but always invites us with a love and gentleness that recognizes our weakness, “He will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick.”(Mt 12:20) We must resemble the King of love if we hope to enter into His kingdom.

Secondly, the Crucified and risen Christ has already prepared heaven, the Kingdom of love, for us, “And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”(Jn 14:3) The King of love has a burning desire to have us sinners with Him for all eternity in the kingdom that He has won with His precious blood. We can only enter into His kingdom by showing love in action.

Thirdly, Jesus has given us His love and is preparing us for heaven by calling us to show loving action to those in need. Whenever we encounter someone in need, Jesus is indeed willing to “take us to Himself” along the same path of loving action that He has walked. Every time we meet someone in need, Jesus is preparing us to enter into heaven by our showing the person love in action. We must let love prepare us if we are going to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

That is the message of today’s Gospel in which all the nations are divided into two camps based solely on their loving actions or inaction towards others. The blessed enter a kingdom already prepared for them by Jesus’ death and resurrection, “Come, O blessed of my Father, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The Blessed ones allowed love to prepare them for heaven as they showed love in action towards those that they providentially meet. The cursed ones are those who refuse to be prepared by love for heaven as they do not show love in action.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, we will be judged by love alone because loving action towards God and neighbor remains the one and only requirement to enter into heaven.

This message challenges us to reflect on how we look at those who are in physical, material, spiritual or emotional needs. We may look at them as useless burdens to be endured in our lives. We may see some as competitors to beat in the race of life. We may see them as obstacles to our peace of heart. We may even complain and grumbling about trying to meet their needs, even thinking that they have nothing to offer us. But we hardly see them as God’s signs to us along the road to the kingdom of God and as channels through which the King of Love invites and prepares us for our heavenly home. We cannot solve all their problems but let us do the little that we can, “I was thirsty and you gave me drink.”

The King of the Universe comes to us in today’s Eucharist because He is also the King of love who gently moves us to follow His footsteps in loving others and meeting their needs out of love for God. He is never idle in us but He never ceases to prepare us for heaven. As He gives us His love in the Eucharist He will also make available to us numerous opportunities to show loving action to others in need.

Jesus, the King of the Universe and the King of Love has already prepared heaven for us by His own self-sacrifice. We have one and only one requirement to enter heaven – loving action that submits to God and serves the needs of others for God’s sake.We must not grumble or complain about this single requirement of love to enter heaven. Let love received today prepare us so that we too enter into His kingdom, the Kingdom of Jesus, the King of love.

Glory to Jesus!!! Honor to Mary!!!

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

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