Tomorrow, Sunday, 4th September 2016, the Church will officially declare Blessed Teresa of Calcutta a Saint, once again fulfilling the words of Jesus who gave this authority to his church…”whatever you declare bind on earth shall be bound in heaven…”(Matt 16:19). This means that Mother Teresa is in the presence of God in heaven like other holy people mentioned in the Bible (Enoch, Elijah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Peter, Paul etc) who are already seeing God face to face before the Judgement Day.
Jesus himself clearly taught us that some are already in heaven before the Judgement Day. He told the criminal crucified with him…”today you will be with me in Paradise” (Lk. 23:43). That criminal on that very day went to heaven (paradise)…he didn’t wait for Judgement Day. Jesus showed that the repentant criminal didn’t need Judgement Day before he could be with Him in heaven.
Again, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus teaches us that Lazarus went to heaven without waiting for Judgement Day…he was in Abraham’s bosom (Lk. 16:23). How do we know? The Rich Man asking that Lazarus be sent to his brothers back on earth clearly shows that Judgement Day had not yet taken place because there were people still living on earth (Lk. 16:27-28)…and yet we read that Lazarus and Abraham are already in heaven. Holy people (saints) when they die are taken to live in Abraham’s bosom in heaven even before our world comes to an end (Lk. 16:22).
Again the Rich Man begging (interceding, praying) for his brothers back on earth before Abraham shows that people ‘up there’ in heaven know and can see what happens to those of us ‘down here’ on earth. Abraham and Lazarus knew the father’s house of the Rich Man where his five brothers lived (Lk. 16:27-28)…they are not dead and useless, they are not unconcern to what happens to us here below. And if the Rich Man who was in hades could beg, intercede, pray for his brothers, how much more then if Lazarus and other holy people (saints) in heaven decide to beg, intercede, pray for us sinners in this valley of tears. If the Rich Man could beg for people on earth, all that Jesus is teaching us in that story is that holy people like Lazarus and the saints in heaven can equally and more efficaciously pray for us who are here on earth (get all these in Lk. 16:19-31).
No Christian should therefore think that when other believers die they are dead and forgotten, useless and can’t do anything for us. Then Christianity would be a useless and hopeless religion; our faith in God would be in vain. Do we no longer believe in Jesus’ own words…”I am the resurrection and the life he who believes in me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25). So why can’t we believe Jesus when He says that the saints who believed in Him are still alive though they are dead. Do we now know more than the Master? Didn’t Paul write that not even death can separate us from the love of Christ? (Rom. 8:31-39). So why can’t some believers accept that death cannot separate the saints from God?
It is no coincidence that the last pages of the Bible mention the saints praying for us…”the smoke of incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hands of the angel to the presence of God” (Rev. 8:4). The saints have never stopped offering our prayers before God’s presence. They do so whenever we ask them to pray for us.
And so, we can confidently say:
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.
God bless you and please pray for me.
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