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THERE IS MEANING TO OUR LIFE

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

The author of the book of Ecclesiastes does not sound optimistic. The reason is that despite his belief in God, he lived in an era when there was no clear understanding of the afterlife. The notion of a blessed immortality was not part of his thinking. If death is the end then even the greatest accomplishments are but a fleeting satisfaction, lost forever in the darkness of the grave. The truth is that Jesus, by His own death and resurrection, has overcome death for each of us. It is through Jesus that God the Father calls us to everlasting life.

The promise of immortality not only holds out a comforting hope for us, but also gives meaning to our present existence. We live in a disposable age. People use a paper plate and a plastic knife and fork at a picnic and then throw them away. Many drinks come in bottles to be used once and never again. After a disposable item has served its purpose it is forgotten.

In God’s eyes we are not disposable. The meaning of human life is indeed something of a mystery. At times it is hard to understand what the value is in getting up each morning to face another day of work. What is the worth of it all? It is when we wonder about the values of our life that we must remember that God has a clear view which at best is obscure to us. If the meaning of human existence were not lasting, God would indeed dispose of us in death. But this is not so. We go to our rest in the conviction of rising again. We hope and believe that Christ will bring us into the eternal light of His presence. This is how all the saints looked at life. It is a challenge. Every moment is precious. Even death itself is used by God to be transformed into a new risen life.

Reading the New Testament after the fact we can only marvel at the denseness of the disciples. How could they be so blind as to what Jesus stood for really? How could His arrest by the authorities take them completely by surprise? How could His death on the Cross have devastated their faith in Him? How could His resurrection from the dead have exceeded their wildest hopes?

Jesus gave them plenty of opportunities to discover these truths. After a given point in time He talked candidly about what His enemies would do to him - arrest Him, scourge, and put Him to death. He also promised that the chains of death would not hold Him captive for long. But for all of this advance warning, the events during the latter days of Christ's presence on Earth took them all by surprise.

The disciples were guilty of ignoring the obvious. But lest we be too quick to criticise them, we ought to recognize our own penchant for doing this. Think of how many times people shut their eyes to what is obvious. How many parents have simply ignored the signs that their daughter has an eating disorder or their son a drinking problem? How many times has an anxious wife overlooked all the tell-tale signs that her husband is having an affair? How often have government leaders failed to take steps to prevent problems that were clearly going to happen?

Lord Jesus, we shut our eyes to the obvious because we do not want to admit to ourselves that we have failed, or that we have been betrayed. Help us to realise that with Your help we can begin to take control of our lives by facing up to the obvious.

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