Eternal Life


Today some people are skeptical of the after-life. “Is there heaven” some would ask. October 2012 last year, Newsweek magazine published a cover story “Heaven is Real.”
It is about the experience of an American neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander who claims he has had a life-changing visit to the afterlife especially heaven. As a doctor, he has taught at Harvard Medical School and has earned a strong reputation as a brain surgeon. Though he called himself a “Christian” in the past, yet he never held any strong religious belief even of the after-life.
But in the fall of 2008, he contracted a rare form of bacterial meningitis that shut down his neocortex (the seat of human consciousness) and left him dead or at best a vegetable. Though unbelievers criticize his story, yet no one can dispute that he is alive and well today! Now he travels around the world to tell his story.
He published a book “Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife” which has become a best seller for 35 weeks and sold for nearly two million copies. At the end of the book, he would declare: “I didn’t just believe in God; I knew God!”
Through this experience of dying and rising, he was given another opportunity to tell the world that there is more than what the eye could see which science had reduced to matter.
In this Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 20:27-38), the Sadducees (who did not believe in a life-after) wanted to trick Jesus with a preposterous story. That a woman was married seven times! Yet, it gave Jesus the opportunity to teach the truth about the Resurrection. Jesus confirmed: it is real!
I realize that only those who believe in Jesus can really believe in the after-life. After all, He himself rose from the dead. The First Reading tells the story of seven brothers who were martyred together with their mother enduring terrible tortures because of their faith in the Lord (2 Mac 7:1-2.9-14).
We can learn three lessons from our Readings:
1.     Eternal Life
Pope Benedict XVI said: “We should never lose the perspective of eternity.. It is our faith in eternal life that makes earthly life significant. Only if the measure of our life is eternity can our life here on earth be great and its value immense.”

2.     Accountability
One day we will be judge. We must account for things that we said and did. “This certitude is both for the powerful and the simple ones” again insists Pope Benedict.
3.     Hope
That life has a sense – has a meaning; that it is not absurd because there is a God. That whatever we do has a transcendent purpose – even marriage.
Even if we suffer and are devastated with earthquake and typhoon, it is not the end. We can still rise. 

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