A Question of Life or Death (Fifth Lent)

When Jesus saw her sobbing and the Jews with her sobbing, a deep anger welled up within him. He said, “Where did you put him?” “Master, come and see,” they said. Now Jesus wept. The Jews said, “Look how deeply he loved him”. (John 11: 33 – 36)

Jesus shows a lot of emotion in today’s gospel. He’s perturbed and troubled; he weeps; he gets perturbed again.

Death has that effect on most of us. Death is shocking. It makes us angry and sad.

There are those who will tell you that they welcome death or, in the words of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, “see death as a friend”. But what they are welcoming is the promise of peace that follows death, and, perhaps, the hope for eternal life.

Every human being ponders the question of why we have to die. We seek answers in such disciplines as religion, philosophy, mythology, or science. Tomes have been written on the subject, which is a clear indication that there is no simple answer.

When faced with the sadness and confusion of death, try reframing your why question. Instead of why must we die, start with “Why were we born?” Or rather, Why did God make me? Then the answer is simple: God made me to know, love, and serve God and others in this world, and to be happy with God forever in the next.

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