A New Earth And A New Heaven
Belief in a final judgment on the last day is clearly expressed in the Creeds of the Church. On that day all the dead will be raised. Through divine power we will all be present before God as bodily human beings. Then God - the absolute Lord of HIstory - will conduct a panoramic judgment in which the Spirit struggled to bring us forth as one people.
When will that day come? In a remarkable passage filled with hope for all things human, Vatican II addresses this question and expresses the Church's vision,"We do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity. Nor do we know how all things will be transformed. As deformed by sin, the shape of this world will pass away. But we are taught that God is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth wehre justice will abide, and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart."
Meanwhile, during the time that is left to us, "here grows the body of a new human family, a body which even now is able to give some kind of foreshowing of the new age."
After we have 'nurtured on earth the values of human dignity, brotherhood and freedom, and indeed all the good fruits of our nature and enterprise, we will find them again, but freed of stain, burnished and transfigured... On this earth that kingdom is already present in mystery. When the Lord returns, it will be brought into full flower" (Church in the Modern World, 39)
That kingdom is already present in mystery. The day has already begun when God "will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more." The day has already begun when he says to all living beings," Behold, I make all things new.... It is done!I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Rv 21:4, 5, 6)
Meanwhile, we work and pray for the full flowering of that kingdom to come.