For heaven’s sake: Keep your eye on the target

| Deacon Melvin Kuhn | November 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

casket_webWhen someone dies, we typically find ourselves at a loss for words. Death is a mystery. What is it like? One minute I am here in this world, and in an instant it is all gone. My soul has departed from my body. Where am I? Am I home, delighted, surrounded by angels and saints? Am I at least in purgatory and on my way to the table of the Lord? Or am I in something like a dark room — terrified and alone?

Today’s readings speak of the resurrection of the body that will occur at the end of time. Every single human being ever conceived will receive an imperishable body.

For those who choose to follow the way of the Lord in this life — the way of lowliness, of humility, of the cross — their body will be glorified. They will live forever as sons of the Father in a kingdom beyond our wildest imagination.

Those who choose to follow the way of the world — the fleeting promises of worldly gain and glory — will also be restored to their body but, as per their choice, will be eternally in hell.

Staying focused

Do we give any thought to our final end? It is easy to get caught up in the affairs of this life and think — consciously or otherwise — that this is all there is, or at least it is the No. 1 priority.

We might ask ourselves: How many times in the past month have I thought about heaven and if I am on the path toward it? The purpose of this life is to reach eternal life. Is this my first goal?

Imagine a man who is fixed on a target and running headlong toward it. Suppose he has an enemy who wants to keep him from reaching his target. How will he stop him? Trip him? No, he will just get back up and keep going. Place some obstacle in his way? No, he will find a way around it.

As long as his mind is fixed on that target, he will get there. Ah, there it is: as long as his mind is on that target.

No, the enemy says, I will not impede his running or even leave him without a purpose. I will blind him to his current target and give him a new one. That new highest purpose is simply among the matters of this world: financial affairs, careers, social contacts, etc. These things are not evil; in fact many are necessary. But when they become my primary concern, I have taken a terribly wrong path. When God becomes secondary, he ceases to have any real importance at all.

It’s easy to be caught in this way of thinking because we’re surrounded by it: in business, media, entertainment and even education. But we must turn around; we will not, indeed can­not, hit a target that we never see.

To keep our eye on the target, we will need, for one thing, a habit of daily prayer. If you don’t pray on a daily basis, start with an Our Father in the morning and a Hail Mary at night. I also will have to purify my motives by regularly asking myself: What is my highest aspiration?

Deacon Kuhn is in formation for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, S.D. His home parish is St. Benedict in Yankton, S.D., and his teaching parish is St. John the Baptist, Savage.


Readings

Sunday, Nov. 10

32th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:16 – 3:5
  • Luke 20:27-38

Reflection

How many times in the past month have I thought about the path to heaven? Is my mind fixed on the target?

 

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Category: Sunday Scriptures