How far off do the keys to the kingdom appear to you right now? Are you dwarfed by how far out of reach those keys are? What do you perceive to be the kingdom on the other side of that door? Will it be the success all we Americans strive for; untold wealth, lots of material possessions or the CEO position of your company? Is the kingdom actually heaven, eternal life? What do you define as your kingdom? What are your goals in life and the after life? Where do we get the keys?
A missionary priest visited our parish a year or so ago and talked about people who serve and try to live as God wants us to by sharing all that we have with others. He said that our destiny is really not our business. That struck me as very wrong! If my path to eternal life has nothing to do with the choices I make then why am I making any good choices at all? He said that it is by the Grace of God alone that we enter the kingdom of heaven. Infact he told us that a sinner, one who has avoided God all his life, can be saved by asking for forgiveness in the end, at that last moment. Which is infuriorating for those of us who try day in and day out not to sin. This priest made a very good point though he said, although the sinner, who made all the wrong choices in life by partying and being hedonestic with his existence, although that seems like fun he sufferred from not having had a realationship with God. Yes, to some it seems unfair that we do the difficult task of trying to do right when it would be so much easier and fun to do wrong. However, we listen to God and therefore know God and that in and of itself is the greatest pleasure known to humanity. To know God is to be filled with His love and grace and there is no better life than that.
So even if we are good and try hard to be better it’s still not our choice to go to Heaven. It is all by the grace of God. Wow! What a way to make us believe we really have no control, it is all in God’s hands. How far off are those keys to the kingdom? We don’t even get to touch them.
After hearing this priest talk about heaven I really reflected on it all. All we can do is the best we can do. We should still try to follow the example of Jesus Christ in our everyday life. We should still try to develop a deeper relationship with God. We should still discern the gifts we have been graced with by God and give them back to the world around us. Then one day when we stand at the door with the keys to the kingdom in the lock at least we will know that there is nothing else we could have done differently. We will know when we have passed on to the next life and are standing at the door holding turning the key if the door swings open wide it will be by the Grace of God that we enter the TRUE KINGDOM.