- 1) 2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14
- Psalm 17:1, 5-6, 8, 15
- 2) 2 Thessalonians 2:16-3:5
- Gospel: Luke 20:27-38
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
While reading this week’s Scriptures a song from the 2005 David Crowder Band album, “A Collision,” came to mind. One line in the song says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.” The reading from 2 Maccabees describes how many members of the Maccabee family were tortured and martyred by the occupying Greek army. To a person, they all welcomed death rather than violating their faith because they knew they would see God upon their death.
To be sure, this is an extreme situation and few of us will ever be required to choose faithfulness to Jesus over death, but the question all of us can ponder is: “How real to us is the prospect of eternal life?”
Years ago at a Bible study, my pastor asked for a show of hands of those in attendance who were ready to go to heaven that night. Of the 50 or so people in the room only a few people raised their hands.
Believing in the Resurrection is one thing, but the process of taking part in it can be less than appealing because, of course, it involves our death.
Last year at a young adult retreat, I listened as one of the participants was explaining how fearful she was about a particular situation. I said, “Worst case scenario is that you will die and get to see Jesus.” There was some laughter, but then the truth of my snarky comment began to settle in along with the realization that no matter what happens in this life, there is a greater, holier life that awaits us all.
A woman I worked with at my parish embodied this attitude and outlook on life. She was terminally ill and had the good fortune to be in her home as she passed to the next life. She had always said she wanted to die sitting up with her feet on the ground as though she had someplace to go, and that is exactly what happened.
Our faith calls us to the realization that we are destined to die, but it is not our ultimate destiny. Death is also a doorway to the presence of God.
Questions for Reflection:
- Which do you think is harder, to die for your faith or to live every day like it is your last?
- Are you ready to die if Jesus called you home today?