Rabbi Meir was teaching in the synagogue
when the angel of death touched his two children.
Their sorrowful mother covered them with a sheet
and left them laying in bed.
When the Rabbi came back, the mother greeted him with a question:
“Some time ago a gentleman lent me two precious jewels
and asked me earnestly to watch over them.
He now came and asked back for them; should I give them to him?”
“Of course and quickly!” was the prompt answer of her husband.
“Today, the Lord came and asked me for Rachel and Jonathan.
He wants them back. I gave them back to him,”
she disclosed to him calmly as she led him into the bedroom.
In front of his two dead children, the Rabbi with tears in his eyes exclaimed:
“The Lord gave them to us. The Lord took them back.
May His name be blessed! Now they are sheltered for ever.
He loves our children more than we do!”
This is a simple story taken from the Talmud
that throws a strong light on the pain we feel
in the face of the death of our dear ones.
Death troubles us
because it flaunts the absurdity of the way we plan and build our lives
Death puts us in our place
because it strips us of oursenseless pride.
Death helps us also
because it can teach us to worry less.
Death proposes to us
to work not for things that pass
but for those that last for ever.
The reminder of death jogs your memory
to take advantage of the moment we have
and start loving and appreciating those living with us
before it is too late
The memory of death should turn our eyes towards heaven.
Everyone today closes all windows that look towards heaven
It is very easy for us to sweat
as if we were to live here for ever.
It is easy for us to clutch tight to our possessions
as if they will linger with us for ever.
Death can help us unwind a little!
Christianity, as usual, makes one step forward.
Because it announces that, thanks to Jesus Christ,
death has been destroyed.
Death is only a mirage.
The Lord burst open all graves.
When Jesus Christ came face to face with death
He knocked down this leviathan.
To the widow of Naim’s son he said:
“Young man, I say to you, get up!”
To Jairus’ daughter he said:
“Talitha, get up!”
To Lazarus, his friend, he said:
“Come out of the tomb!”
AND all these stood up on their feet.
and came out of their death chamber.
This is the most wonderful news of all.
Jesus Christ came into the world
to demolish death once and for all.
We too, as long as we cling to him,
can be triumphant over death.
We too are called
to live as people already resurrected
so that when we breathe our last breath
we do not die!
I remember when I saw the dead body of my father in the coffin,
then I realized that appearance deceive.
My father was not dead. He was alive!
And I could meet him…
every time I met Jesus Christ,
because he was with Him.
Death has been destroyed.
It does not exist.
“But the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God,
no torment shall ever touch them.
In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die;
their going looked like a disaster,
their leaving us, like annihilation.
If they experienced punishment as men see it,
their hope was rich with immortality.
Slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be;
God has put them to the test,
and accepted them as a holocaust.
When the time comes for his visitation, they will shine out”
(Wisdom 3, 1-7)
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.