Growing up, it was the most natural thing in the world that my dad’s first stop in the morning paper wasn’t the front page or sports section, but the obituaries.
My siblings and I still joke that there must be some unwritten “code” in Portuguese culture that instructs one to attend a wake or funeral even if one’s only connection to the deceased is that you knew their college roommate’s third cousin’s dog walker’s friend’s aunt.
It may sound strange, but my grandfather was an ardent wake and funeral attendee, and I guess it rubbed off on my dad. Apparently it rubbed off on me, too. From an early age, attending wakes and funerals was a routine part of life. It wasn’t until high school, at the wake and funeral of a friend’s grandfather, his only classmate there, that I thought, “Maybe not everyone is as comfortable with death as I am . . . .”
Don’t get me wrong, I still have “Martha Moments” echoing the complaint, “If you had been here Lord . . .” (John 11:21), when it seems death wasn’t fair.
A friend’s eighteen-month-old son drowned in the family pool. My grandfather was killed by a drunk driver. A friend received two terminal pre-natal diagnosis. She carried her girls to term, and had just hours with them before having to give them back to God. At those moments, you could say I had some “Martha like” words for the Lord.
But His response is always the same. “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in me, even if he dies will live”(John 11:25). By His grace, I’ve found the strength to echo Martha’s faith, rather than her complaint.
“I have come to believe that you are the Christ the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” (John 11:27) and those of the psalmist, “I trust in the Lord, my soul trusts in his word . . . for with you there is mercy and fullness of redemption” (Psalm 130:5,7).
While illness, suffering, and tragedy, may end in death, the Lord’s mercy transforms death. He makes it “for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).
*Scrutiny Year A ReadingsThe Lord’s mercy transforms death. // Sister Maria Fatima Click To Tweet
Take the time to sit with today’s Gospel again.
Thank you for being here.
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