Fr Billy Swan
Facing death - our own and the loss of loved ones - is one of life’s most difficult tasks. Whether we believe or don’t, have great faith or little, the challenge to make sense of it remains for everyone. Perhaps that is your challenge right now as you struggle with grief.
Christians believe in life after death, that life is changed but not ended. We have heard this many times but only when death knocks on our door do we ask what it really means and question if it’s true. There is grief and sorrow for sure but something within us refuses to believe that they are no more. If they are not now, then they never were. We did not love shadows and dust but real people with heart and soul. This is the deep and personal love that death has not killed and that lives forever. Though they have died, our love for them is still alive. They live on. They are with us now but not like before. They are near us now in spirit, somehow, someway. At times it is difficult and painful. God knows it is. A grieving heart takes time to heal. We mourn, we weep. But as we do, Christ weeps with us as he did for his friend Lazarus. He knows what it is like to mourn. He understands. That is why the Father sent him into the world: to know our humanity from the inside and to suffer with us. He knows what it means to grieve and to say goodbye. Yet in him death gives way to life and love triumphs over sorrow. Faith in the Lord Jesus assures us that our hopes for those who die are not wishful thinking. In the long silence, he is present. In the emptiness, he is there. In the memories, he lives. In him grief and gratitude embrace and joy will, in time, be ours again.