REVELATION ON THE TRUE MEANING OF DEATH

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25) When a skeptic or unbeliever in Christ is at a funeral service of a friend who has died, and hears these words of our Lord, their attention will refer back to those words “...even if he dies, will LIVE” and “everyone who lives and believes in me, will never die.” At this point, a smirk comes on the face of the skeptic or unbeliever, since all that he sees before him is a coffin with a corpse in it!

For the Christian, however, the lesson of Revelation in this passage of scripture comes from the Sacramental Mystery implied in the words “and everyone who LIVES and believes in me will never die.” God is thus revealing to us that the phenomenon of death is misunderstood by “Man,” when couched in terms consonant with Man’s limitations. For, unbelieving “Man” sees the horror of physical death as the end of temporal life, while God has revealed to us that the true meaning of the horror of death is an eternity of existing in the fires of Hell.(cf. “Then he will say to those on his left. ‘Depart from me, you accursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41).

Thus the skeptic and the believer both must ultimately come to terms with the specter of “physical death” and “life” by making an act of FAITH EITHER in what God has revealed THROUGH Christ OR taking on “faith” what a skeptic or atheist believes, concerning this mystery: “who are we and from whom have we come, and what is our meaning and purpose in this life?”

Jesus revealed: “I AM the resurrection and the life…whoever BELIEVES in me even if he dies will live.” We Christians put our faith in Christ who prophesied his death and Resurrection and fulfilled both assertions with an eternally glorified Body. He eternally “IS,” while the unbelievers are eternally “history!” We Christians are with a “WINNER;” those who are with “other than Christ” are eternal losers.

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