All of us are here because we all want to go to heaven. And all of us are here because we believe that, hopefully, our going to Mass can pave our way to heaven.
Once there was a man who didn’t know whether he wanted to go to hell or to heaven. He was a very pragmatic person. He wanted to know what hell was and what heaven was because he didn’t like to be deceived. He kept on praying to God to show him hell and heaven so he could decide where to go.
Finally, God answered him and showed him hell. Satan welcomed him and honored his guest with a big banquet. God showed him heaven and also tendered a banquet for him. After the two visits, the man decided that with all the enjoyment from sin he can have on earth, and since he did not perceive any big difference between heaven and hell, he preferred hell. So, he committed all kinds of sins, left and right.
When he died, he went to hell, as expected. As soon as he entered hell, Satan yelled at him and put a chain around his neck and arm, and tied a huge metal ball to his feet. The man asked Satan, “Why are you doing this to me? The first time I came you were all kind and gentle and you welcomed me with a banquet.”Satan answered, “The first time you were here, you were a tourist, now you are an immigrant.”
We are tourists, but not simple tourists, we are pilgrims. We are always on the go, we don’t belong to this earth. That is why the Lord tells us that we should not enjoy life excessively because we might forget that we are transients here.
We all desire to possess but let us not allow ourselves to be possessed by our own possessions. There is that desire in us to amass wealth, to gain power, to make ourselves popular. However an excess of popularity, an excess of wealth can make us forget that we are only tourists here on earth, but we are called to be immigrants in heaven.
All of us have experienced thirst. When you are thirsty, you drink water. If you have never tried it, try to drink salt water when you are thirsty. No matter how much you drink, you will still feel thirsty because saltwater is not intended to quench our thirst. That is the same with material possession.
We are all inclined to possess. We want people to appreciate us. We want people to applaud us. We want to be wealthy, we want to be comfortable. But all these are like saltwater – the more you drink it, the thirstier you become. The first acquisition will merely be the start of an endless pursuit.
The Lord is telling us, “When you are thirsty, do not look for saltwater, look for the living water. Look for Me, and then you will find that your thirst has been assuaged. Then, you will discover that you are only transients here, that your real home is heaven.”
My dear brothers and sisters, during this Mass we will pray for a spirit of detachment – a spirit of real detachment. So we can always keep in mind that we are only temporary residents here. We are not immigrants, we are citizens not of earth but of heaven.
Only Jesus, Always Jesus