In our Second Reading today St. Paul is writing to the people of Corinth and in his letter we hear something very familiar. Do you remember when last you heard this?
“Therefore we are not discouraged; rather, although our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” And,
“For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven.” Corinthians 4.13, 5.1 We often hear this read at wakes or funerals in our Church. It is speaking to us about our body weakening while at the same time our inner selves, our souls, are being renewed day by day. I find this interesting in that St. Paul assures the people that though they are becoming physically and even perhaps emotionally tired as they labor to spread the Good News of Jesus to others, they are growing closer to God in the process and that it is not about our earthly bodies, rather it is about a dwelling place secured by Jesus Christ that will be our eternal home; a place of glory beyond our imagining.
Receiving a medical diagnosis that makes clear that one’s life on this earth is coming to a close can be devastating, to the person and to those who love them. However, wrapped in that diagnosis is what many find to be a gift; time to tell others how much you love them or time to reconcile or to apologize to someone, or simply time to take in the beauty of the world and the uniqueness of each person in your life. In such cases, life slows a bit, a multitude of details that we find so important to accomplish lose their status and are replaced by a longing to spend time together, to tell one another how much they are loved, to care for another physically, emotionally and spiritually. It can be a time that draws families closer and gifts them with the reality of what is truly important in life. And above all, many are drawn closer to God through this process.
Often we have heard the words, “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?” Could it be that the suffering of one might bring about the best in another? Could it be that we are more open to what God might be teaching us as we sit at the bedside of a loved one who is dying? Might God be providing a gift to all involved? Could accompanying a dying person be a most beautiful way of serving God? This is often what I see and hear as I am privileged to accompany a person, their family and their friends as they spend final hours with a loved one. What I not only witness, but can literally feel, is the presence and the grace of God. We do not understand all of God’s ways, but when we experience the death of loved one, I fully believe, we do not do that alone. Jesus promised his presence with us always until the end of time; our time here on this earth and forever with him in heaven.
Let us pray, asking God to be present to all those who are suffering on this earth in preparation to their being united with God forever.
Trusting in His Love,
October 17, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC