My oldest brother, Augustine, passed away in January 2018. Once in a while, my mother would just break down in tears, lamenting over his death but most especially because she could not see him when he was sick or when he died because she is blind. It is a painful situation. This time when I went home, she broke down several times again in tears. On one such occasion, I came to realize my mother thought that she was never going to see my brother and all her loved ones that had passed. She is 93 years old and has been a Catholic since her early years and a good one for that matter. She knows we go to heaven when we die, but for some reason, she did not make the connection that we will be able to see our departed loved ones again. I tried to explain it to her, using examples and stories of people who have had the experiences of the in-between heaven and earth. The moment my mother understood this truth of our Christian teaching, she literally glowed with joy and deep freedom, she exclaimed: “So, there is no need to cry again?” I told her we could cry because we miss our loved ones, but we shouldn’t cry like people without hope for a future reunion. I have never seen her so relieved, so happy, so free and so surrendered. Life and all the pains and losses we experience simply pale in comparison to the hope that was rekindled within her. When all this is over, she realizes that new life and reunion await all those who trusted in the Lord.
The realization of this truth awakens us to a deeper consciousness of the real richness, namely, trusting in God fully and totally. Whenever we fall into the temptation of letting our hearts be gripped by anything in this world, it becomes extremely hard to deal with the truth that one day, all this shall be over, and we shall leave EVERYTHING and EVERYONE behind. For this reason, Jesus proclaims happy and blessed are those who have the right attitude towards possessions, relationships and acquisitions. Avarice, vanity, gluttony, excessive care of the body, lust for power and control, and greed make it hard to see the truth. That is why Jesus says those who cling tenaciously to these will suffer the most when all this is over. It will be harder for them to accept the truth, which they must, that one day all this will be over! He is not against having money or taking good care of oneself; rather, he is concerned about the attitude, the interior disposition we display toward the cares of this world.
The happy and blessed ones are those who are truly poor, that is, those whose hearts remain open to God and to all things; those who mourn in freedom and hope and not in hopelessness; those who are taunted because of their faith in the promises of Our Lord! When all this is over, we shall leave everything behind, and all that goes with us to God are the love and care we have in our hearts for others, the true worship and adoration we have given to God, and the committed life we lived. As a friend of mine rightly said, “no one leaves this world with U-Haul!” May you be happy and blessed because you have the right attitude to things and persons. Amen