Death and Comfort

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 71:1-2, 3-4A, 5AB-6AB, 15 AND 17

R. (see 15ab) I will sing of your salvation.
In you, O LORD, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, and deliver me;
incline your ear to me, and save me.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
Be my rock of refuge,
a stronghold to give me safety,
for you are my rock and my fortress.
O my God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
For you are my hope, O Lord;
my trust, O God, from my youth.
On you I depend from birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength.
R. I will sing of your salvation.
My mouth shall declare your justice,
day by day your salvation.
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
and till the present I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
R. I will sing of your salvation.

Gospel: John 13:21-33, 36-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.
One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved,
was reclining at Jesus’ side.
So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant.
He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him,
“Master, who is it?”
Jesus answered,
“It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.”
So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas,
son of Simon the Iscariot.
After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.
So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”
Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him.
Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him,
“Buy what we need for the feast,”
or to give something to the poor.
So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself,
and he will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
You will look for me, and as I told the Jews,
‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?”
Jesus answered him,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow me now,
though you will follow later.”
Peter said to him,
“Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you.”
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?
Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow
before you deny me three times.”



Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.”

When I reflect over this Gospel, I think of death and am comforted. Is that strange?

We know what is going to happen to Jesus. We know where He is going.

My grandmother died many years ago and too soon. She died of a very aggressive breast cancer. She ate all of the right foods, took up Mexican hat dancing and Yoga before it was every a “thing.” She came to this country not knowing a word of English and died the principal of a bilingual school in the Bronx. My grandmother spent three evenings a week traveling by train and bus from Brooklyn to Queens to teach other non-English speaking people the language she came to love. She was my greatest hero and friend. I pray for her soul every day and dream about her every so often.

I wonder if she would have liked and come to love my husband, laughed with my children, and been proud of the woman I am today. When she died, I wasn’t Catholic. I didn’t read the Bible, think about Heaven, and I didn’t have the comforting words Jesus spoke to His disciples. The despair I felt after her passing shook me to the core for so many years as she was such an influence in my life. I now take comfort in praying for the repose of her soul and rest in these words when the pain wells up in my soul.

Death isn’t easy to handle, or face. If you can’t find respite in this small verse, I encourage you to prayerfully consider another and keep it with you. Memorize the Scripture and when the pain becomes more than you can bear on any given day, say the words, and know that you will be together again.

Cristina Trinidad is a married, stay-at-home mother of two children. She recently opened an Etsy shop named after Luke 1:38, where she offers inspirational and faith-based hand embroidered designs. You can visit her shop and find out more about her here

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