“He Is Not God of the Dead But of the Living”.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
There are three often asked questions to which people for generations have tried to find acceptable answers. They are: one, where did man come from?; two, for what purpose does man live on earth?; and three, where will man go after he dies?
Some believe that man has come from nowhere and nothing will be left after his death. Others think that the problem of how to enjoy life here on earth is more important than that of whether or not there is an after-life.
The Holy Bible teaches that man was created by God in His image. Man has a body made of the clay of the ground and a soul taken from God’s breath of life. God also assigned man to take care of the earth so as to make it a home for both humans and other creatures. Man was supposed to live forever in friendship with God. Unfortunately, man committed sin by breaking God’s law. Because of sin, man was divided from God, from neighbor, from creation and has lost unity and peace in his heart. Among the evil consequences of sin the most frightening for man is death, as Saint Paul wrote in his Letter to the Romans, Chapter 6, verse 23, “The wages of sin is death.”
Death, therefore, has caused man anxiety, anguish and fear because nobody can escape death.
Anxiety, anguish and fear increase all the more when man thinks that he after death will lose everything. No longer can he see his loved ones. In vain will his achievement be. Forever will he himself disappear without any trace left.
Fear of death has forced many to lose their dignity as a human person. Fear of death has even weakened or broken their faith in God.
But the Word of God has something new, important and necessary to tell us this Sunday with regard to how to deal with suffering and death.
The First Reading reports the heroic deaths of the mother and her seven sons who disregarding torture and death threat of the king kept their faith in God in the sure hope that the Powerful Author of life would give them back the same precious gift.
In the Second Reading Saint Paul encourages Christians to stand firm in times of trials and temptations, confident that God’s grace is strong enough to sustain and protect them from the forces of evil.
The Gospel tells us how our Lord Jesus Christ emphasized the truth about the rising again of the dead and about the much beautiful life of those faithful to God’s laws.
We Christians believe in Christ Who died and rose again to defeat the power of sin and free us from fear of death.
For us Christians it is life, not death, that matters. We have to live in accordance with God’s laws in order to well prepare for the next life. Life will continue right after death.
Life will be changed into a new form worthy of a new earth and a new heaven at the Resurrection when Christ our Lord comes again in glory.
These are assuring truths by our Lord Jesus Christ Who introduced Himself in John Chapter 11, verses from 25 to 26, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
Simply because, “God is not God of the dead but of the living.” Amen.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.