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23rd Sunday After Pentecost 2017

Is Death a Consolation or a Condemnation?

Death surrounds us and begins to crowd in upon us as we age and watch those who reared us die. Then we find our own friends one by one dying and wonder comes upon us while we consider if we are next in line. As one poet expressed it:”Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Therefore this passage of the ruler coming to Jesus because his twelve year old daughter is dying and will be dead by the time Jesus returns with him.

In this moment we must ask whom the ruler represents and whom the little girl symbolizes.Jairus (name means “enlightened”) presents us with the Jewish hierarchy who ought to enlightened their fellow Jews concerning the Commandments of God and the words of the prophets. The little girl who is now of age ought to be united with the God who gave her life. She is the Jewish people who are dead because they failed to recognize the Savior. In the house there are the flute players who stand in for the scribes and Pharisees and mock the Author of life. Mockery is the first sign of the demonic activity in us or around us. Our Lord puts them out with the words that the girl is sleeping not dead.

Sleeping is the state in which God finds the Church even today. It symbolizes the church in error, in sin. We cannot expect the Catholic Church to live if She begins to follow the idols of the world. Many material and political designs are crowding out the divine Savior. He has come to bring us back to life as He did with the woman who at the birth of this girl suffered for 12 years of false gods. All the Gentiles need to do is touch the hem of His garment and they are set free. Our focus, though, is on the Jewish nation that will return to the feet of our Lord when the full number of Gentiles is achieved. In the meantime the mockery will become anger and the anger will turn to murder just as the figure of Cain in the Old Testament.

This is a prophetic tale which calls us to recognize in ourselves this little girl who now appears as our soul. If we are attracted to the world and its idols then we too need the hand of God to draw us out of the death which surrounds us in this world of ours. We must purify this soul and accept totally the words of our Lord. In this state we discover three responses that occur in the church now. First, there are the innocent who have never offended the Lord. Second, there are the penitent who have failed and repented unto the Lord. St. Augustine says that these two groups will find their way to the kingdom.But the last group, the habitual sinners, are the ones who must fear for their eternal welfare.

These are the souls who attach themselves to lust, or to drink, or to anger, etc. They falsely believe that they will come back one day to serving the Lord but later. Our Lord appeared to an Abbot and showed him a soul gathering logs. He came to a point where he could not even lift the small pile but continued adding to his burden. Do you think that Sin when he decides to change that the weight of these sins will become like feathers? No, the weight will be too much for the soul. Sin begets sin and the result is death. We all have to pay the wage but if we are sincerely penitent or innocent then death is our consolation. If we become attached to the sin and think that we will deal with it later then our death will be a condemnation.

In this the eternal and universal law cannot be denied: “We will sow that which we reap.”If we sow virtue in our life then we will reap a heavenly reward. If we sow sin, we can only reap the soul’s death. Will death be for you a consolation or a condemnation. You alone can answer that question for you alone know what you have sown in your life. Yet if we hear the words of God and repent we can still please God and make reparation one moment at a time. Turn to Our Lady, the saints, your guardian angel and change your life for eternity is forever and you have one soul to save and if you save it all is saved.If you lose that soul, you have lost everything.

In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Fr. Richard Voigt, S.D.B.

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