Why Death Doesn't Make Sense

View the readings for this Sunday

Sunday, July 1 - 13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
• Wis 1:13-15; 2:23-24
• Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11, 12, 13
• 2 Cor 8:7, 9, 13-15
• Mk 5:21-24, 35B-43

By Marc Massery

Between bustling city streets and crowded subways, blooming flowers, towering trees, and whistling songbirds, our world is bursting with life almost everywhere we go.

Even in a silent, empty place, the sound and rhythm of our breath remind us of our own vitality.

But even as life surrounds us, death looms nearby.

Many in our culture try to avoid thinking about death. We'd rather talk about movies, sports, the news, Tom Brady's diet, our plans for the weekend.

But then death takes a loved one. The world hits us hard with the truth of our mortality.

We question, "Why?"

The first reading this weekend says, "God did not make death, nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living. For he fashioned all things that they might have being" (Wis 1:13-14)

Though we may complain to Him, God is not responsible for our misery.

Scripture says, "For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him" (Wis 2:23). The Lord created us to live with Him in perfect peace, having freely chosen to love Him.

But somewhere, something went wrong. The first reading continues, "By the envy of the devil, death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it" (Wis 2:24).

Satan tempted us, and in our free will - one of God's greatest gifts to us- we rebelled. And so, we face death. But in His mercy, God set us free from death by the Blood of Christ. If we but take up our crosses and follow Him, Jesus will lead us to Heaven.

Still, the Lord did not abandon us here on earth as we await eternal bliss in Heaven. Faith enables us to remain peaceful during times of distress. Saint Faustina says that God's peace can give us "such great strength and power that all difficulties, adversities, sufferings, and death itself are as nothing" (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 359).

In the Gospel passage, Jairus a synagogue official goes to Christ seeking help, desperate to save his daughter. Family and friends tell Jairus not to bother, believing she is already dead.

But Jesus tells Jairus, "Do not be afraid. Just have faith" (Mk 5:36). They push through the crowd and approach the house where many already mourn the girl, rending their garments and wailing loudly, as was their custom.

Christ's voice breaks through this noise, "Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep" (Mk 5:39).

They ridicule Christ. He sends them away from the house. He takes the child's father and mother, along with Peter, James, and John, and enters the room where the girl lies. He takes the child's hand and says, '"Talitha koum," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"' (Mk 5:41). She immediately gets up and walks.

As the others marvel, Jesus says they ought to give her something to eat.

In the face of grave illness, amidst the chaos and confusion of apparent death, Christ remains calm. He commands us to remain calm, too. He's already taken care of everything. We just need to trust Him.

And whether we live for many more years, or die tomorrow, we will only ever find complete joy when we walk the streets of gold, hear the singing of the heavenly hosts, and stand before the glory of God.

View the previous Sunday Scripture Preview.
 

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