DEATH AND LIFE, ENDING AND BEGINNING
Long ago I commented, as you do from time to time, that life was full of ups and downs. This pious friend of mine corrected me: after the resurrection of Jesus it is the other way round – life is full of downs and ups!
At the time the thought went through my head that this was an even more pious comment than those he usually made but it stayed with me poking, as some comments do, at the way we have mentally constructed our outlook on life. The experience of our Lord rising from the dead changed the way his close friends, the first disciples, did look at life and at death. They were no death cult not worrying if they lived or died but death was suddenly put into another perspective. No longer was it the clanging shut of some massive prison door which, once closed, could never be opened, a door that barred those who had gone through it from ever again enjoying life. Death was indeed a door each would go through but what was waiting on the other side was a fuller, richer life than what is on this side.
The author of the book of wisdom spoke truly when he said that God takes no pleasure in the extinction of the living. God created everything to be, to exist, to reflect, each according to its own nature, the desire of the creator. This love of life and wholeness takes centre stage in Jesus raising Jairus’ 12 year old daughter to life and the restoration to good health of the woman as he simply passed through the crowd on the way to the home of Jairus, the synagogue official.
Such accounts, I know, can raise more questions. Why did my loved child die even when I prayed that it not happen? Why was my medical condition not healed when I turned to Jesus for a cure? I do not know the answers to those questions. Illness and death appear part of our condition as finite beings. We are not immortal in the bodies and form we have. But we now know that after this way of existing we continue in a new form and in time in a body similar to what Jesus had after the resurrection. For now, we live trusting in the face of everything that can say to us that God does not love us, that in fact we are loved and held in being. Full healing comes when we see God face to face. Full life comes after we go through the door that seems so final yet in truth is a door to a changed and fuller life.
Life continues after death. What looks like an end is indeed a beginning.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Jun 30, 2015
|13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 28.06.2015