Eternal Life


The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

“In those days Mary set out. . .”Luke 1:39-40

Christians have long imagined “eternal life” in any number of creative ways, such as a castle in the sky, a fabulous banquet, or the gift of immortality among others.  But Jesus lays out a very different description of eternal life: In John he tells us that we should know “the only true God” and Jesus Christ, the one whom God sent.

This seems odd, until we recall the entirety of the life of Jesus.  John’s Gospel makes it clear, as Mary makes it clear in her remarks, that Jesus came to show us the Father (John 1:18), doing so by every word and deed.

Eternal life does not come as a reward, a thing earned by good deeds or  right belief. Eternal life is the Lord’s Prayer lived out by those who follow Jesus every day. When God’s will is done on earth–then on earth will it be as it is in heaven.

Last night I visited with a a number of people shivering in their tents, hungry; cold ; afraid; I entered into the lives of people who are in another world–lost in their mental illness; there are more tents in our alleys, and our Parks than when I came here nearly 23 years ago. Oakland is overwhelmed with homelessness. Several years ago I walked under the streets of New York City, where thousands live, and above we hear of how New York keeps the City clean.

Mary has a faith in things unseen, faith that comes from outside herself. She affirms that Earth is not a waiting room for heaven, nor is this life about merely passing time before our true destination. Eternal life starts now when we glorify God by our words–and our deeds of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison, providing housing,  health care and respecting all religions and belief systems, and all nationalities. Deo Gratias! Thanks be to God!


+Fr. Christian River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94164


Temenos Catholic Worker

Franciscans Against the Death Penalty

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