It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write. Dealing with two very active grandboys each morning and ringing in the Year of Faith with all that entails for someone who works at both liturgy and Digital Evangelization has kept me pretty busy. It’s not that I haven’t tried. I’ve parked myself down at my keyboard many times over the past month and started writing, only to be diverted by the chatter of family or the tyranny of my arch-nemesis, the calendar.
I have always credited myself as being the inventor of ADHD so even at my advancing age I find that I’m still quite fidgety, and one of the hardest things for me to do is sit still at meetings and patiently listen to people hash and rehash problems that should only take a minute to present and agree on. To me, if something needs done you do it. If you don’t know how to do it, you learn how and then do it. If you’re unable to learn how to do it, you find someone who does. Simple. But no, I’ve learned that there is a strata of people who seem to enjoy meetings. They show up on time, armed with a neat yellow legal tablet and pens and prolong the agony of sitting in a room with several other people who wish they were somewhere else doing anything else but are too polite to say so, by revisiting things that took a long time to agree on before, and looking for more discussion (be reasonable, see it my way). There’s a old joke that a camel is a horse put together by a committee. I understand that completely, but going to meetings is now a part of my life and there’s no getting around it.
“Happy Meeting in Glory” is a sweet little tune by the great Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence. I first heard it on a Ry Cooder album several years ago and the title became a household joke whenever one or both of us had to attend a meeting. “Well, at least there there will be No Happy Meetings in Glory.” Occasionally another song, “They’ll Know We Are Christians by our Love” would be sung as “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Date Books.”
Yet our faith teaches us that there will be happy meetings in glory when we are finally reunited with those who have gone before us. Each time we are left behind by someone we love it tears a hole in our hearts that will only be filled when we are finally with them again. In John 11 Jesus receives a message that his good friend Lazarus was not well and could die. Martha and Mary, his sisters, have confidence that if Jesus would come he would save Lazarus from death. However, Jesus didn’t leave right away. He waited until the man had died to go. By the time Jesus got there Lazarus would be in the tomb for four days, not a pretty picture. When Jesus arrived at the tomb he saw the sorrow of those who mourned and felt Martha and Mary’s deep pain of separation. He groaned within, even though he knew he would bring Lazarus back from the dead. Our God knows what it’s like to suffer the loss of a loved one. What does the Church say?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Chapter III, Article 12, XVI – The Hope of the New Heaven and the New Earth states: “At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and soul. The universe itself will be renewed: The Church… will receive her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ. Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, “new heavens and a new earth. It will be the definitive realization of God’s plan to bring under a single head “all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth. In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”
This is a meeting I want to attend, although I’ll wait until I’m invited. In the meantime, it gives great comfort knowing that without a doubt there will be a “Happy Meeting In Glory.”