Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Contradiction?

I was forcing myself to get through my last two minutes on the stepper at the gym yesterday when I remembered something the priest said during his Sunday homily. In so many words, he criticized people for being afraid of death as death is currently the only way for a Christian to go to Heaven (that and the second coming, but we don't know when that's happening, do we?). He surmised that people tried to "stay young" because they were afraid of facing the idea of death. He then said that concepts like anti-aging, age-defying and going to the gym were testaments of how people are afraid of death. He said that doing such things were signs that people did not want to die because their desire for Heaven is not strong enough.

But, to be honest, I think the priest missed the point of the "theme" of Sunday's readings (2 Maccabees 7:1-2, 9-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:16 - 3:5) and Gospel (Luke 20:27-38). I think the message of the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time is that enduring suffering and dying in the name of faith, martyrdom, is glorious. Paul encourages the faithful to endure and pray and look forward to the day that they are delivered from those who persecute them. Suffering and dying for your faith as the seven brothers and mother in the first reading did is glorious and would take one to Heaven; purposelessly dying does not do that. To stress my point, I quote Paul from the second reading.

"Brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith."

If God wanted us to suffer, if we were meant to suffer, why would Paul ask for deliverance from the unfaithful persecutors? Even Jesus asked for deliverance as he agonized in Gethsemane, thinking about his oncoming sacrifice. As for "staying young" and seeking death, it's also in the Bible that our bodies are temples of the Spirit. I believe we have the responsibility to take care of this temple, both physically and spiritually.

To end this, I will quote what Jesus said in the gospel.

"Even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called 'Lord' the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."


That said, while it is not wrong to die for Christ, we should not seek for death. So long as it is not yet our intended time and day to return to him, we should strive to LIVE for Christ. We should take care of ourselves so we are able to fulfill our mission given to us during the "Great Commission". We were not born simply to die, we are born to glorify our Creator.

At least, these are the things I believe.

1 comment:

Vince Ragay said...

Out of the mouths of babes! Very well said. Which proves one does not need to go to, hmm, seminary to understand the Bible or life, in general.

But you reminded me of 1 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV) For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.

I guess exercising both the body and the spirit then covers everything in life now and what comes after. As long as we maintain balance and self-control, we can't miss our goal, can we?