Thursday of the Fifth Week of Lent
The death is only an appearance
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.” (So) the Jews said to him, “Now we are sure that you are possessed. Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ … Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area. Jn 8,51-59
Let’s resume the image of the yesterday rug. If we look the world around us by the only glance of the mind, it is as if we have looked at the carpet of the living room from its back: we would see only a tangle of wires and confused colors. On the contrary, if we observe it by the eyes of the faith, it is as we view it from the front, where everything is clear. As it is also clear that the death does not exist: there is only the life. The death is the most tragic reality of this world, but it is an only apparent event: it is a bee – st. Paul says – which has lost its sting. And the tangible sign of this truth is that we are no longer afraid of it. Furthermore, at a certain point, when we realize that our project of life is made, it ends up as a dear and familiar thought. We often find in the Holy Scriptures the phrase “he died old and full of days” and st. Francis even called it “sister death”. The man of faith grows old and dies smiling, because he knows that the death is only the gateway to the eternal life, which, being a bit narrow, allows to enter only with few, essential luggage. The grandparents, the uncle Ilo, the uncle father Ugo and many friends who have left us, died with a smile and now they live in the communion of the saints. We feel their presence anytime we call for recourse to their prayers and we recognize their help. They died smiling because they knew that, beyond that door, they were meeting the Lord’s mercy and they would have finally seen the design of that rug which, as long as we are on the earth and we walk on, we cannot see in its full beauty. We also begin to feel these feelings, mixed with the desire to spend well, and possibly as a whole, the last coins of the talents which we have received. And, in the meantime, we raise to the Lord this prayer: “Lord, do not call us in these days, do not call us when we have not yet completed our work. But when, one day, we will have filled our time and our harvest is completed, then let us come to you, bringing our gifts in joy. But call us also tonight, and now, if you wish, being the harvest not yet completed, ahead of time, when our work is not accomplished and our days seem still green. If you want”.