Ordinary Time, 6th Sunday (C) "Memento mori" (remember death) is more than just a nice motto. Wise people in every century have lived well by keeping their end in view. Modern Americans see death as some kind of failure. We refuse to talk about it, using words like "passed away" to avoid having to even say the word. Too many people opt for no service, scatter the ashes, or give them out like party favors. All of this is a symptom of death denial.
The Bible tells us that death was not originally part of creation. Death entered the world along with sin. We are right to feel repelled by death. However, death now plays an important role. We should accept our death and face this reality with courage. Jesus is terrified of death, as we all are, but with God's help he accepts it with courage.
Three days later, God raised Jesus from the dead. This moment is a preview of our own resurrection. Jesus saved all of us, body and soul. The dead will rise on the last day and our souls and bodies will be put back together. A Catholic funeral rite ends with, "To be continued..." We prepare our loved ones for the Resurrection because the best is yet to come.
The other two readings from today's Mass should be read in this context. We have sometimes experienced objectively good circumstances, yet we feel dry and shriveled on the inside. Other times our circumstances are terrible but we are at peace because we are drawing life from God. Blessed are those who can't trust in their own resources, but have to trust in God. Woe to those who have enough money, happiness, or popularity the they don't have to trust in God. Death is not a question of "if" but "when." Put your trust in God today.
(13 Feb 2022)
Going Deeper: Have you planned your funeral? I put off planning my funeral for 10 years after my ordination. But when I finally did plan the funeral, it was a good experience and a good feeling. It's never too early to plan your funeral. It could be too late, but it's never too early. Make a few notes about how you would like your funeral celebrated.