Easter day marked one year since I made settlement on my home in Virginia. In a way, it’s hard to believe it’s been a year, but then again, the effects of the current pandemic have illustrated how much has changed. Now that we have spent far too much time in our own homes, are we better able to define what home means?
From a dictionary perspective, the definition is: “a place of residence; domicile” or “a place of origin.” While that seems rather straight-forward, I would like to argue, that sometimes we live in houses and sometimes we live in homes. The difference being that a house is a place that we stay although we do not have an emotional connection or feel our most comfortable there. The latter would be a place where we can relax, enjoy, and be our truest selves. However, the difference is not as simple as liking or not liking the space. I do like my current residence now and consider it a home. Is it perfect? Nope. But as I tackle one project at a time, it will gently evolve into a place that is even more comfortable than it is today. To make a house a home, requires thought and action.
During our lifetime, we may have many places we can refer to as our home. Abraham followed God’s call and journeyed to a new land. The Israelites journeyed for 40 years in the desert until they reached the Promised Land. Even Jesus moved from His birthplace in Bethlehem, to Egypt, and then to Nazareth before becoming an itinerant preacher. In looking at the etymology for the word home, it may derive from Sanskrit of a compounded word for “dwell” and “calm, quiet, safety.” We too are on a life journey, not of a physical location, but of our eternal dwelling. When we encounter the Bible journeys during the Mass readings or in our private scripture reading, we can use the opportunity to draw parallels to our spiritual journey and see how we are faring.
The Easter season celebrates that our lives do not end in death, but rather can be transformed. We will either complete our preparation for heaven in purgatory, enter heaven, or if we choose not to have a relationship with God — end up in hell. Jesus does want us to choose a life with God. He wants us to dwell with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. And at the end of the world, we’ll get to experience it not just spiritually, but physically too, when our bodies are resurrected from the dead. Only then will we truly be home, in every sense and definition of the word.