“Here” Is “Hereafter”
Twenty-Ninth Week of Year II Monday October 17
The Responsorial Verse reminds us of who we are: “The Lord made us, we belong to him” (Psalm 100).
In Ephesians 2: 1-10 Paul teaches the mystery of our identity. God: 1. “co-vivified us with Christ by grace” (the “favor” of sharing in God’s own divine life); 2. “co-raised us up with him” and 3. “co-seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.” 1
Are we “seated with Christ in heaven” now, or is this only where we will be after we die?
We must constantly remind ourselves that God sees all time, from beginning to end, as present in one eternal “now.” If we were raised “with and in Christ” when Jesus died two thousand years ago and on the day of our Baptism (one and the same moment with God), then God sees us as being “co-seated with him in the heavens” — with and in Christ now — where he is.
Jesus is reigning in heaven, “at the right hand of the Father.” And Jesus is continuing to minister on earth in us who “with and in him” are his living body in the world. In and through us, the stewards of his kingship, Jesus who in God’s time already reigns in heaven is working in our time to establish his Kingdom throughout the world. Jesus is present in time and in eternity. In God’s eyes so are we — with and in him.
This is the mystery of our being. We are not just human creatures of God. “We are what he has made us [by grace], created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” If, in our time, we persevere in living the divine life he gave us, then “in the ages to come” God will manifest in us “the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” This gives richer meaning to the Responsorial Verse: “The Lord made us, we belong to him.”
In Luke 12: 13-21 Jesus reminds us to see the present always in the light of the future; to live in time and in eternity simultaneously. Life, he tells us, “does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Life is stewardship. We own nothing; everything belongs to God. We simply manage everything we have control over for the short time we are alive. Then we will give an account of our stewardship to God.
If we forget this, we are as foolish as the man who said to his “soul,” his deepest self, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” Then he died that night. The truth is, “The Lord made us, we belong to him.” And so does everything that appears to belong to us!
St. Paul uses the expression “in Christ” or its equivalent 164 times. And 29 times he uses the prefix syn- in Greek (“co-” in English), even coining words, to express our union with and in Christ as members of his body.
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Live in time and in eternity at once.