Saturday, April 3, 2010
Lenten Reflection on Death
by Fr. A. R. Arboleda, SSP
Death is always painful when it comes because it means that a person is cut off from the world of the living. It means that between the dead and the living there comes a distance much farther than the farthest point on this earth. When a person lives, one can always hope he will come back home sooner or later; but when a person is dead, one can only hope to join him someday.
There is something final in death which no one ever likes. When death comes, it’s all over for the person this side of life. No matter how miserable one’s life may have been, death appears always terrifying. Life is just too beautiful to end in death.
But our faith teaches us that death is the necessary passage to eternal life. Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit” (Jn 12:24).
Fear of death is inherent to man. Yet, such fear diminishes even as one’s hope for a much more beautiful life increases. And if such hope is founded on Christ’s Good News that by his own death he has already won eternal life for us, and that if we take our cross daily and follow him we will have life eternal, then, death ceases to be terrifying. To some, it even becomes something to welcome, for death would tear down the curtain that still separates us from God, who is the source of all our happiness and of eternal life.
Indeed, it is only when we are aware that we have “debts” in this life to pay in the next that we should tremble at the thought of death. In this life, we are aware, justice is either imperfect or altogether absent. The evil man seems to thrive better than the good. This surely cannot last forever. Somewhere, true justice must be rendered.
Death is terrifying because it ushers us to that somewhere where full justice is rendered. The more “debts” I incur in this life, the greater is my fear for death will lead me to the halls of God’s justice where only the truth shall prevail. And I will be left alone to face God’s justice.