From death to life

Pietà at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, pixabay.com
Pietà at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, pixabay.com

The heavy drama and the negativity  of the Holy Week signifies an intense journey of Christ’s last days of His life here on earth. We recall and commemorate what happened during the most sorrowful and painful days of His life. He was able to pass through such a heavy load of suffering and He was overcome by love and prayer that gave Him strength to keep moving towards Calvary. Jesus has great confidence that nothing can separate Him from that Divine Love, nothing can put or keep Him down, nothing can destroy Him – even  as He struggled onwards to death. This is the secret of His strength: His being always connected with God the Father and His total trust in Him:

Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:39

His entrance into Jerusalem is the beginning of His journey towards His death:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” — Matthew 16:21

Jesus and His disciples were having a celebration of the Passover feast, sharing the joy of being together and with thanks,  in remembrance of how God rescued the Israelites from the slavery of Pharaoh the King of Egypt.

The Apostles and the people in Jerusalem did not know what would happen to Jesus in the days to come. At that time, they simply happily rejoiced and jubilantly welcomed Him.  They recognized Him as they proclaimed Him as the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38). We feel the sadness of Jesus, His struggle and agony in that moment when He prayed to the Father in the garden of Mount Olivet because He already knew what He had to pass through on His journey in Jerusalem.

Jesus totally offered His life for the salvation of us all, for the remission of our sins. This is one of the most humblest acts of obedience by Jesus to the Father. He showed how much He loved humanity as He faced death on our behalf with such dignity.

To this day His death gives us hope to look forward to our own resurrection. Without His death, Easter Day does not exist.  We too will pass through this life and we will not be stopping at our death only because there is something more beyond death. We are people of hope that we, too, will rise from the dead and join with God in His heavenly place.  Jesus knew about the kind of death He would face and He openly shared this to His disciples to help prepare them for that time as that death approached nearer and nearer.  Nevertheless, they did not understand.

For those who are terminally ill, they have some time to prepare themselves for a happy death. What of others who die suddenly? Only God knows when our life shall end and so we put the life He gave us into His merciful and compassionate Hands. Life is short.  We must always try to do our best.

As we journey with Jesus during this Triduum, we see Jesus accepting the will of the Father without reserve. Jesus travels lightly.  He has nothing to weigh Him down with worry because He was able to prepare His apostles, and His mother was with Him at the foot of the cross as he took His last breath.  Even when so few of His friends accompanied Him at Calvary – most of them ran away in fear – Jesus never had a heavy nor angry heart towards those who condemned and persecuted Him. Before His death He forgave them – and us – all. In His heart is forgiveness. He forgives because He loves all.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” — Luke 23:34

Through Jesus’ example and the testimony of His death, let us take a higher perspective as we look upon a positive side of death. Death will bring us to a new, eternal life – a life with God or a life in the place where there is the absence of God. But happy are we when our life can end with God, because we expect to be united with God without any pain, suffering and stress. We will be enjoying eternity with Him in love, becoming the icon of His love.

“Love will never ends.” — 1 Corinthians 13: 8

Seeing the beauty of death, when eternal life begins, and thinking positively about death helps us not to be afraid because God has promised that He has prepared a place for us in the life eternal.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” — John 14:3

This is the assurance of Jesus to us – to be with Him forever. If death approaches us we continue praying for a happy death, a happy ending to our life. To have a happy ending is to have peace in our heart. The peace that liberates us from fear and the darkness of our sins. We can have peace if we acknowledge our sinfulness and have a regular confession.  Asking for forgiveness helps us to be reconciled with others and with God, the ones we have offended. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we sincerely confess our sins, these sins that can separate us from God and man.

Let us, then, to remember to make the best of our lives and let us live it with a joy that comes from God. The death of Christ is the source of our hope. Hoping to live our life eternal in His Kingdom. Keep praying as it will free us from fear of death. Let us be reconciled and live and die with a purpose and always with Christ.

Prayer

Dear God of love and life,
I ask forgiveness for the times I have failed to love You.
Let me start my life anew
And reconcile myself with You.

Let me not lose hope when following Your steps.
Instead give me strength.
Let me persevere in the chosen life I am journeying now.
Let me overcome the everyday worldly temptations.
You give me the grace and the strength to drive these away from me.

Your love is my motivation to go on
This love in my heart is the joy of my being.
I am grateful for Your faithful love, Lord.

Mama Mary, protect me.
Mama Mary, show me the right way to reach heaven.
Mama Mary, help me to love Jesus day by day.

Amen.

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