“I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE” (John 11:25)
📑Isa 25:6-9; Psalm 27:1, 4, 7-9, 13-14 (R.v.13); Rom 5:5-11; Mark 15:33-39; 16:1-6
Our celebration of today beckons on us to reflect deeply on what death should really mean to us who are believers. One of the Prefaces that we use at funeral Masses says that for the faithful, at death, “Life is changed not ended.” And we are sure that the change is for better since, as St Paul noted, Christ died for us even when we did not merit it (cf. Rom 5:8), how much more now that he already paid the price and cleared our debts.
The events that surrounded his death give us even more cause to be hopeful. With the tearing of the veil of the Temple (Mark 15:38), the old Temple that is built by human hands gave way to a spiritual temple, which introduces a new covenant. That veil symbolizes the veil which the prophet Isaiah had told us, in the First Reading, that the Lord would destroy.
This new covenant accepts and gives life to anyone who believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (John 20:31). Hence, the centurion becomes the first member in that new covenant; the last became the first (cf. Mark 10:31).
Do you care for a further proof of the benefits of the death of Christ for us? He makes our passage into eternal life very easy. Mary Magdalene and her group were still wondering on how they would move the stone covering the tomb but Jesus had already made it easier for them to walk through (cf. Mark 16:3-4).
Compare their relief at seeing that the stone had already been rolled away to the disappointment of the disciples who rather went fishing when they caught nothing (John 21:2-3). It pays more to remain with Jesus and follow him faithfully.
Those who are able to follow him thus, he leads into the great banquet of fat things and choice wines in his place, where he will wipe away all tears and all would rejoice (Isa 25:6-9). ????
But we also know that there are those who would not follow faithfully as Mary Magdalene and would rather derail like the apostles that went back fishing. Since the Lord did not abandon these to get loss in hopelessness, we have hopes that our prayers can assist the souls who, out of human frailty, have not found their way into the banquet hall of the Lord.
May our hope, which is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness, not fail us. At the moment when the darkness of death would seem to hide his face from us, may his grace sustain us, and his light lead us in the right path. And may that light shine upon the souls of the faithful departed who are yet to see the face of God, that they may enter into eternal life. Amen.
Have a memorable celebration today and a great and fruitful day ahead. Peace be with you.