People I want to meet in Heaven

I’ve already made plans for when I get to Heaven— even though I’m not sure when that will be because these things can take time. Nevertheless, there are a few people I want to meet, so I’m penciling them in on my calendar.

Sure, there’s God and Jesus and the Blessed Mother, not to mention St. Joseph and my guardian angel, who’s done a lot of heavy lifting, with more to go.

I also want to give a shout-out to some saints who’ve helped me along the way, like St. Jose Sanchez del Rio, St. Margaret of Castello, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Ann and St. Joachim, Servant of God Chiara Corbella Petrillo, and St. Joseph Barsabbas.  He’s the guy who didn’t get the job when the Apostles had to fill the opening left by Judas. We certainly can all relate to the guy who didn’t get the job.

Let me not forget St. Martha, who’s one of my favorites. All my life, I’ve lived with Marthas. Even though it’s been a bit annoying, they always step up to the plate when there’s work to be done.

Who can’t love Martha? When her brother Lazarus was sick, she sent word to the Lord, and after he died, she went out to meet Jesus as he approached Bethany. She told him: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask, God will give you.” All of us need a saint like that on our side.

When I get to Heaven, I also look forward to meeting people we hear about but know so little about. I’d love to sit down with them and talk about life, and the afterlife over a latte, assuming they serve lattes in Heaven.

I really want to meet the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit. St. Mark tells us that she fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to help, but he rebuffed her and said, “It’s not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” Hearing that, anyone else would have crept away, but she came right back at Jesus with her famous retort: “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”

The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus wept, but they never say Jesus smiled. I’m convinced he smiled that day when he told her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

I’d also like to meet the woman who was hemorrhaging for 12 years and gave all her money to doctors, who couldn’t cure her. She pushed her way through the crowd to get close to Jesus so she could touch his tunic, thinking, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” She did and the flow of blood stopped … and then mayhem erupted.

“Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who has touched my clothes?’ But Peter said to him, ‘You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

Jesus looked around, and the woman realized she’d been exposed. “She approached in fear and trembling,” the Gospel says. “Then, she fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth.”

“Daughter, your faith has saved you,” he said. “Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.” I suspect he smiled again.

I’m also making plans to enjoy a cappuccino with the Good Thief (I’ll buy). The Good Thief was there during Jesus’ darkest hour, when he felt abandoned and was reviled as he hung on the cross between two criminals.

The Good Thief rebuked the other, who was cursing Jesus and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the Good Thief told him: “ Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? We have been condemned justly … but this man has done nothing criminal.”

Then, he said the words that gained him Heaven: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus uttered a reply that will be remembered for all eternity: Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

All of them were people whose lives went from ordinary to extraordinary when they encountered the Son of Man … who also happened to be the Son of God.

Jesus, remember us when you come into your kingdom.