Sunday, September 11, 2022

"Where is Heaven" - Homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 2022


Where is Heaven? Homily for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sam Harris, who is a celebrity in the atheist community, several weeks ago asked the question, “Where is Heaven anyway?” He then gave the response: “We have all these satellites in space and no one has even seen heaven”


Sam Harris echoed the now 60-year-old comment from Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin after the first manned spaceflight when Yuri said "I went up to space, but I didn't encounter God."


Saint Paul, however, in our 2nd reading today, gives us the only real and logical notion of Heaven and God when Saint Paul says “To the king of ages, invisible, the only God”  invisible means not able to be seen. 


Here is what Sam Harris and Yuri Gagarin and most atheists do not understand: time and space are finite concepts, and God is not limited by them.   The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 2794 that when we pray “Our Father, who art in Heaven” Heaven does not mean a place and the Catechism continues “Our Father is not "elsewhere": God transcends everything we can conceive of”


I think Sam Harris is expressing a question that most Catholics have as well about Heaven and its location.


But we can rest assured that Heaven is real even though it is not present somewhere in the universe.  God made the universe, and time and space.  Heaven is occupied by the angels and all the saints who have died in a state of grace and, every person in Heaven is experiencing eternal and infinite bliss beyond the universe.


Lord, we ask tonight for the strength to continue to conform our lives to your plan, knowing that when we do that, it helps us both to experience peace in this life, even amidst great suffering, and also our conforming our lives to your plan will eventually allow us to enter the eternal and infinite bliss of seeing you face to face in Heaven.

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