In 2005, The Simpsons aired an episode entitled “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star” featuring Bart and Homer exploring Catholicism. A worried Marge envisions herself in Protestant heaven at a calm croquet game, whereas Catholic heaven (on a neighbouring cloud) includes mariachi dancing, an Italian banquet with wine, an Irish brawl next to a pot of gold, and Bart and Homer at a piñata party, which morphs into an enormous Riverdance-style performance. “I’d like to speak with Jesus!” Marge muttered, but The Almighty was laughing on the Catholic cloud, thrown into the air by Bart and Homer.
Truths distilled in this humorous rendering of “Catholic Heaven” include eating, partying, and being with God. Heaven will be a party in that it is the “ultimate end and fulfillment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness,” (Catechism 1024), in which we will see God in the ‘beatific vision’, that is, “in His heavenly glory” (Catechism 1028).
The love and mercy of God is bigger than we can possibly imagine, but we can also regularly encounter Christ – and the joy of the Kingdom to which we are invited – here on earth through frequent participation in the sacraments, particularly Reconciliation and the Eucharist. The Book of Revelation (which describes a divine banquet in which the angels and saints give glory to God unceasingly) alludes to the Holy Mass, celebrated across the world and through time. The liturgy focuses on the heavenly banquet, encouraging us to unite in a special way with Christ and His Church, and in a mysterious way allows us to join the angels and saints in their continuous worship.