Sunday, April 3, 2016

We are the Easter People!

I attended the obsequies of a dearly loved aunt of mine in West Midlands, England at the week end. She left her home and family in the Beara Peninsula in her early twenties to find work in England. She reared a loving, devoted and supportive family and spent her long life as a nurse caring for others. She always thought of others before herself. She bore many crosses in life but she embraced them with great courage and dignity. As I reflected on her death, I recall a story I read in the Irish Catholic recently of a conversation between two unborn twins in their mother’s womb.

  “Tell me, do you believe in life after birth?” asks one of the twins. “Yes, definitely! In here we are growing and gaining strength for what will face us on the outside,” answers the other.
   “That is utter nonsense!” says the first one. There cannot be life after birth; how is that supposed to look, may I ask?” I don’t exactly know myself but it will certainly be much lighter out there than in here. And perhaps we will actually be running around on our legs and eating with our mouths.” “I have never heard such nonsense! Eating with your mouth, what a crazy idea! That’s what we have umbilical cords for, to feed us. And you want to run around? It would never work; the umbilical cord is much too short!” “It will work for sure. It will all be a little different.”
    “You are crazy! Nobody has ever come back from life after birth! Life ends with our birth and that’s it! Period.” “I must admit that nobody knows what life will look like after our birth. But I know that we will get to see our mother and that she will take care of us.”

Jesus told the story in another way using a parable which we often recall when we begin to wonder about death and life after death; “Truly I say to you, unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it produces much fruit.” Jesus is talking about himself, when he is buried in the ground like the seed and dies, then he can break forth into new life, be raised from the dead and share that life with all of us.
      That’s the first and most joyful message of Easter – that Jesus has, indeed, broken through the barrier  of death to new life and where he has gone, we will follow; each of us, when we die, will be like the seed that breaks forth into new life.    (Article edited; by Fr. Martin Delaney; The Irish Catholic, March 24, 2016) 

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