Year C: 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: based on St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians Ch. 15: 54-58
This series of readings from the first letter to the Corinthians concludes with St Paulís closing words on the subject of death and resurrection.
It affirms again the belief that, in ways we cannot yet understand, our mortal and perishable natures will give way to eternal and imperishable ones.
His words concerning death - where is its sting? - where its victory? - speak of a hope stronger than death.
Standing by a graveside or in a crematorium, death does have a sting - and seems to have a victory - and the hope that our loved one is moving towards eternity and perfection can seems forlorn. St Paulís words can ring hollow - however hard we want to believe them.
As the work of grieving progresses, we can begin to sense that, yes, for a time death does have a victory in that it separates us - but that separation is only temporary.
We cherish the good that our loved one did - and see the fruits of that goodness in children - grandchildren - friends and colleagues. Though death has taken the person, it cannot take the sum of good that the person gave to the world.
And somehow, we begin to see that these fruits are being gathered into the Kingdom for them to cherish too. We do not know what those who have gone before know of our continuing earthly existence - but we believe in a communion of saints and that the separation between living and dead is not as great as it seems from our side.
As we enjoy the fruits of their love in our own lives, so we learn that our own labours are not in vain. The good we do - the kindness we show - the hospitality - generosity - all contribute to the sum of good in this world and are stored as treasure for us in the next.
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