Divine Mercy Minutes with Jesus is a pocket-sized devotional featuring key passages of Jesus' own words to St. Faustina, following themes such as trust, deeds of mercy, and ... Read more
By Fr. Joseph, MIC (Apr 4, 2009)
Readings: Ezek 37:21-28; Jn 11:45-56
... [Caiphas the High Priest] prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation. Jn 11:51
A Baptist preacher from down South was fond of saying in all his sermons: "Death is not a period that ends this great sentence of life, but a comma which punctuates it to lofty and higher significance."
This preacher's original thinking is useful when considering the reality of death as a comma and not a period. We all know from English class that a comma in a sentence indicates a pause that suggests to the reader, "Take a breath, the best is yet to come." On the other hand, a period tells the reader the sentence is over; the thought is complete.
The preferred Christian punctuation when contemplating death is a comma, because far from being over, life is breathlessly changed. "In the twinkling of an eye; we are caught up in the air to be with the Lord" (paraphrase of 1 Cor 15:51-52).
In this light, Caiphas the High Priest in today's Gospel is wrong to view Jesus' death as a period. When he prophesies that it is better for one man — namely, Jesus — to die for the nation than that the whole people should perish, he mistakenly thinks that death will end the sentence of Jesus' life.
He is dead wrong. Jesus' Resurrection will signal but the beginning of a New Israel, God's holy Catholic Church.
We, too, can think that death is a period that ends this great sentence of life. Lent is a good time to consider our death and to fearlessly acknowledge that our mortal remains will be buried in the tomb. Yet our hope is in the risen Christ who, in power, will open our graves and give us eternal life. Through Christ's saving action, death becomes the comma that punctuates the sentence of our life with the breathless grammar of hope.
O Lord, deepen my faith, hope, and trust in You. Help me in my unbelief! I believe that death is but a pause on my way home to You. Amen.