The desire to continue living is quite strong in the human being.
This is expressed in many ways: we spend so much to look after our health; we plan not only for ourselves to live happily but also for those who come after us. Hence, we build houses that are strong enough to be lived in for generations and in other cases we make investments whose benefits span our lives and even beyond. Today, we are exploring space to see if the human being can live in places other than planet earth - this is great!
Our reflection on Easter Sunday is centered on the feast of life. And for this we will use the readings from the Bible Acts 10: 34, 37 – 43; Colossians 3: 1 – 4; John 20: 1- 9. We will begin with the last reading and refer to the first and second readings.
The gospel of Easter Sunday (John 20: 1 – 9) narrates the experience of the women who went to the tomb on the third day and did not find the body of Jesus in it. They ran back to inform the apostles that Jesus Christ is not in the tomb. Where is the body? Could it be that some one has stolen him? Has he risen as he had said earlier? When we examine the first reading (Acts 10 34, 37 – 43) we can find answers to these questions. Peter went back to the life of Jesus and what he did. He blamed the people for killing Jesus who was doing good: healing the sick, feeding the hungry, raising the dead, etc. The evil intention of humanity – i.e. killing the good one – is over taken by the power of God – the resurrection.
St. Paul tells us that being followers of Jesus means that we have to follow the path of life he lived. By baptism we become children of God; and as the son of God lived, so we should live; as he died, so we shall die; as he rose from the dead, so we shall rise – and life continues after our resurrection.
Even with our faith and hope in the resurrection and the continuity of life, we are sometimes afraid of death. One of the ways we can overcome this fear of death is by accepting it. This is easier said than lived. When we examine ourselves we see that there are some things in our lives that we do not accept: we hide our weaknesses and sins and sometimes put on a front as angels. We also apply lotions and cosmetics to fight against wrinkles and aging; in some cases we apply some chemicals on our grey hair to make them back like a teen-ager. This is denial and it may lead to frustration and emptiness when we fail.
A story is told of a man who stammers. He boarded a bus for a distant town and realized that his fare was snatched before he went into the bus. He practiced how to stammer before fares were demanded. In his mind all was set to frustrate the apprentice so that he would be exempted from paying. When he was asked to pay his fare he spoke clearly to the surprise of those who knew him. He accepted his stammer and so overcame it to his own surprise and that of others.
Yes, we want to live forever. It is also true that sometimes we fear death. The only way we can overcome the fear of death is by accepting it. And if we want to rise and continue living we must "work fearlessly and courageously to remove all that is bad, sad and mad from the face of the earth."