Should we be sad or glad?
It is a paradox of the Christian faith that death brings both sadness and hope. The sadness of the loss of loved ones; the hope that life is not a journey to nowhere. It is often said that we shed more tears for ourselves at our loss rather than for the one who has died. Our tears cannot help the dead, but we know they do help us. Our prayers, though, can help the dead on the journey into eternity. And it is true that sometimes our tears are the only prayer we can make.
Death, then, is a journey to the promised land of eternal life. This hope is founded in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, true God and true man. As life goes on, we become increasingly aware of how fleeting it is and how precarious is our hold over it. Thinking about death can be a positive thing. How do we want to be remembered? Reflecting on our mortality can result in a true love of life. When we are familiar with death, we accept each day as a gift. By facing our mortality, we are put in touch with eternal life. Death is a passage to a new life, which, as Jesus says in the Gospel, utterly transcends the life we know now.
We are constantly passaging: the passage from the womb to the world; the passage from school to work or college; the passage from selfishness to love. Death is not the enemy we often think, who puts an end to everything, but a friend who takes us by the hand and leads us into the kingdom of eternal love. Should we be sad or glad? I suppose that depends on how you have lived.
Mgr Jim Curry
Every Sunday, Mgr Jim Curry provides updates on the parish.