Do you know who saw Jesus for the first time after He rose from the dead? According to the gospel of St. John, it appears as though it was Mary Magdalene, one of the women who was standing at the foot of the cross when our Lord died. (“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.” John 19:25)
Have you ever heard of the practice of using canaries in coal mines to alert coal miners of danger? Canaries are small songbirds that were first bred and used as domestic pets in the 17th century. Because they are more sensitive than humans to toxic gases (such as methane and carbon monoxide), canaries were, at one time, routinely used by coal miners as early warning devices that danger was imminent.
As Catholics, we know from what we’ve been taught that it was necessary for our Lord to die on the cross in order to redeem us from our sins and to open the gates of Heaven. Prior to His death, because of the sins of Adam and Eve, Heaven was “off limits” to everyone.