Death and Resurrection
In the gospel reading today Jesus is questioned about the resurrection. As Christians, we not only believe in the afterlife, but are invited to see death and resurrection as moments in life challenging us to change. Any “loss” we experience is a kind of “death.” Often because of grief over unwelcome changes in our lives, we miss out on the everyday moments of grace. The good news is that even as we anguish over loss (loved one, job, status, health, reputation, possessions), God calls us out of our graves, inviting us to join the living once again. Every time we recognize God’s presence in our afflictions or are opened to a new appreciation of the blessings and graced moments of our life, we experience resurrection. Though we may continue to mourn, we discover that life does hold meaning and that God has not abandoned us. With God, we are able to move from loss and death, to life and resurrection.
As we remember and pray for the departed during this month of November, we can take comfort in these words of St. Paul from our second reading today: “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through his grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.”
In our attempt to follow Jesus more closely, our loss or death experiences offer us opportunities to entrust ourselves more completely to the One who died for us. It is a challenge, it is a surrender, and it does require trust. And as one of my seminary professors once said: “there is no resurrection without the cross.” Loss and death (no matter how small) lead to life and blessings.
P.S. Here’s a death-resurrection story. After a few years and surgeries on both shoulders, I once again am back to doing triathlons. On the last Sunday of October I was in Waco, Texas for Ironman 70.3 Waco. My race number was 2924 and I always try to find a scripture quote using my race numbers. I mistakenly used the verse of 1 Corinthians 9:24 (thinking it was 2 Corinthians 9:24). 1 Corinthians 9:24 is: “Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win.” After the 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike, I used this mantra, “Run so as to win,” when hurting during the last miles of the 13.1 mile run. I finished strong and utterly satisfied, finishing in a time of 6 hours 11 minutes. RESURRECTION!!!