Saint Frances of Rome, Religious (Optional Memorial)
My Father is at work until now, so I am at work. (John 5:17)
One common idea of heaven is that of a place where the angels and saints just sit around playing harps and singing hymns all day long. But something is missing here—especially considering how deeply our forebears in the faith are connected with us. No, heaven must be a very active place, a place where God is always at work, and so are his children.
Three times in this passage, Jesus precedes his words with the double affirmative “Amen, Amen.” Clearly, he is saying something worth paying attention to! First, he declares that he doesn’t do “anything on his own,” but “only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19). So all of his acts of healing, forgiveness, and mercy reflect what is going on in heaven right now. This means that your Father is always looking on you with compassion. He is always at work, bringing the peace of heaven into your life.
Second, Jesus says that anyone who hears his word and believes his Father is freed from condemnation and has eternal life (John 5:24). Not just the people of Jesus’ time, but everyone. So heaven is filled with the prayers of all those who have gone before us—including our loved ones. They are praying that we, too, will embrace the gift of eternal life. They are cheering us on, assuring us that we can come to that place where all judgment is lifted and where everyone is filled with the glory of God.
Third, Jesus said that the time was coming when everyone who hears Jesus speak to their hearts will come to life (John 5:25). The Son of God, enthroned in heaven, continues even now to speak to us. He is calling out to us, offering us his wisdom and guidance, his hope and his encouragement. And with every word we hear, we come alive!
Take some time today and imagine heaven as a place of immense energy. Hear your Father speaking words of love and guidance to you. Imagine his angels keeping close watch over you and your loved ones. Picture the saints praying for you and encouraging you. You are not alone—all of heaven is on your side!
“Father, forgive me for the times when I thought you were far off. Thank you for bringing the grace of heaven into my life.”
Psalm 145:8-9, 13-14, 17-18