Read this week's message from Father Don
“For everything there is a season, a time to be born and a time to die (Ecclesiastes 3.1).”
Birth and death are fundamental facts of human life. Whatever our nationality, education, wealth or personality, we are subject to the grievous limitation of physical death.
Reflection on the mystery of death and the after-life was not uncommon in previous generations. Wise thinkers of all cultural traditions have grappled with the troubling reality of human mortality. In our day, however, death is not a popular topic of conversation. The high cost of living, the faults of the government, the upcoming visit of Taylor Swift, these are popular, but death, not so much.
Perhaps we are so busy with the demands and enjoyments of daily life that we don’t have time to think about the inevitability of death. When a loved one dies, however, we are forced to face up to the issue. How do we think about our deceased friends and relatives? Are they simply part of the past, or are they still alive to us?
In the month of November, the Church encourages us to reflect upon “The Four Last Things,” that is, Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. These are serious matters of concern to all people but especially to Christians who have been privileged to receive instruction on their importance.
Earthly life cannot be adequately understood without consideration of death and life beyond the grave. What should we devote our life to? Why should we try to be generous, humble, and loving? What should we hope for? In whom should we place our trust? These and other practical questions cannot be answered without consideration of life beyond the grave.
Jesus is the Christian answer to the practical questions of life. He is the God who enters the world to heal its wounds through his self-giving love and show us how to live our earthly lives well. He is the one who embraces death and defeats it for us. He is the source of hope in the face of suffering. He is the one who offers us life to the full.
Earthly life is a serious matter and November is a good time to reflect upon its hard realities.