VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Heaven is not an eternally dull
existence but rather the completion of a journey toward a promised encounter
with the Lord, Pope Francis said.
Although Christians may know full well that their goal is to
go to heaven, "we begin to slip" when asked, "What is heaven,"
the pope said in his homily April 27 during Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae.
"Many times, we think of an abstract heaven, a faraway
heaven, a heaven that we say 'yes,
its fine.' But some may think: 'Isn't it a little boring being there for all
eternity?' No, that is not heaven," he said.
Francis' homily focused on the day's first reading from the Acts of the
Apostle, in which St. Paul proclaims "that what God promised our fathers
he has brought to fulfillment" through Jesus' resurrection.
God to fulfill his promises, he said, puts Christians on a path
"toward an encounter, the definitive encounter with Jesus. Heaven is the
encounter with Jesus."
Pope Francis said that during this journey, Jesus
"isn't sitting there waiting for me but, as the Gospel says, he works for
us. He himself said, 'Have faith in me' and 'I will prepare a place for you.'"
Jesus prays for all who embark on this path toward heaven.
However, the pope said,
Christians must continue to remind themselves that "he is faithful"
and that he will fulfill his promise.
"Heaven will be that encounter, an encounter with the
Lord who has gone there to prepare the place, the encounter with each one of us.
And this gives us confidence; it makes trust grow," he said.
"May the Lord give us this awareness of being on a
journey with this promise. May the Lord give us this grace: to look up and
think: 'The Lord is praying for me,'" Pope Francis said.