Revelation 7:9-14
After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.”
“They stood before the throne and before the Lamb…” Being before the throne means that you are seeing God. Why is this important? Have any of you ever heard that the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe there will only be one hundred and forty-four thousand people in heaven? But this verse says it is a “multitude that no one can count!”
I think the people that can’t count are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m not saying this to ridicule them, but to point out their extremely wrong reading of Scripture. We don’t know of an upper limit to how many people will be in heaven.
However, Jesus makes it very clear in a number of places in the Gospels that hell is a real place. He also seems to make it clear that there will be more humans in hell than in heaven. How can I make that claim? Jesus said, to paraphrase, the road to hell is wide and smooth and many there are who find it, the road to heaven is narrow and rough and few there are who find it.
Sin embargo, Jesús deja muy claro en varios lugares de los Evangelios que el infierno es un lugar real. También parece dejar claro que habrá más humanos en el infierno que en el cielo. ¿Cómo puedo hacer esa afirmación? Jesús dijo, parafraseando, el camino al infierno es ancho y suave y muchos hay quienes lo encuentran, el camino al cielo es estrecho y áspero y pocos hay quienes lo encuentran.
Today we celebrate All Saints Day, and that there are an unknown number of saints in heaven. We know only some of the saints by name. These are the ones that the church has declared are already in heaven. But this is just a fraction of the ones that are there. This great multitude is far larger than the few thousand that have been canonized by the church. So we celebrate All Saints Day in honor of all those saints who we will only meet once we are in heaven.
Furthermore, the church celebrates All Souls Day on the day after All Saints Day. So we are praying today in honor of the saints who are in heaven. The saints in heaven are called members of the church triumphant. All Souls Day is a day to pray for the souls in Purgatory. These are called members of the church suffering. And of course, the third part of the church, which is us, is called the church militant, because we are still fighting for our souls.
Además, la Iglesia celebra el Día de Todos los Fieles Difuntos en el día a día de Todos Los Santos. Así que estamos orando hoy en honor de los santos que están en el cielo. Los santos en el cielo son llamados los miembros de la Iglesia triunfante. Día de los Difuntos es un día para rezar por las almas del purgatorio. Estos son llamados los miembros de la iglesia en el sufrimiento. Y por supuesto, la tercera parte de la iglesia, que somos nosotros, se llama la Iglesia militante, porque todavía estamos luchando por nuestras almas.
So today we lift up those unknown saints, especially those we think of from our own families. We may have a sense, on our own, that they are in heaven. That may be a pious thought, or wishful thinking. But it is not wrong to think that those that we have loved are waiting for us in heaven. — If they are not waiting for us in heaven, but are in Purgatory, we pray for them that they finish their journey and enter into heaven where we hope to meet them and they will be waiting for us.
Así que hoy elevamos a esos santos desconocidos, especialmente a los que pensamos de nuestra propia familia. Podemos tener la sensación, por nuestra cuenta, de que están en el cielo. Eso puede ser un pensamiento piadoso, o un pensamiento de deseo. Pero no está mal pensar que aquellos que hemos amado nos están esperando en el cielo. — Si no nos están esperando en el cielo, sino que están en el Purgatorio, oramos por ellos para que terminen su viaje y entren en el cielo donde esperamos encontrarnos con ellos y nos estarán esperando.
But I do want to emphasize also that there is a serious risk of failing to attain heaven. The readings that we have in the Scriptures this time of the year remind us that an end is coming, not just to our lives, but to this world. And when that happens, all the saints will be revealed. Judgment will happen. The dead will be raised incorruptible, or they will be raised to a horrible state that will last for eternity because of their choices during their lives here and now.
Pero quiero enfatizar también que existe un grave riesgo de no alcanzar el cielo. Las lecturas que tenemos en las Escrituras en esta época del año nos recuerdan que se acerca un fin, no sólo a nuestras vidas, sino a este mundo. Y cuando eso suceda, todos los santos serán revelados. El juicio ocurrirá. Los muertos serán criados incorruptibles, o serán elevados a un estado horrible que durará por la eternidad debido a sus decisiones durante sus vidas aquí y ahora.
We have these next two feast days of All Saints and All Souls to remind us of the goal that we have before us. St. Paul says that we must run this good race. If we want heaven, failure is not an option. Si queremos el cielo, el fracaso no es una opción. So aim for the saints of heaven, and if you fall short of that mark, but are struggling, you are all but assured of a place in Purgatory.
God wants you to succeed, but he will not force you to stay with him in heaven. If you choose not to love him, you will find yourself in hell. As one of the Catholic radio personalities has said many times: “be a saint, what else is there!”
Dios quiere que tengas éxito, pero no te obligará a permanecer con él en el cielo. Si decides no amarlo, te encontrarás en el infierno. Como ha dicho muchas veces una de las personalidades de la radio católica: “¡Sé santo, qué más hay!”