Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Live Forever in Me
Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
By Beth DeCristofaro
Then Philip opened his mouth and, beginning with this Scripture passage, he proclaimed Jesus to him. As they traveled along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look, there is water. What is to prevent my being baptized?” Then he ordered the chariot to stop, and Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:35-38)
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever… (John 6:47-51)
My Lord and my God, help me to realize that I, too, will face my days in a tomb but that you will never forsake me nor abandon me. Guide me Lord to lovingly, courageously live life and die with my eyes fixed ever on You. I seek, Lord Jesus, to live each day of my life loving God above all others and my neighbors as myself knowing with deep certainty that I will die and after my three days I will wake to eternal life in You.
The readings of this Easter Season again and again remind us that we are an Easter people. Life, not death, is victorious in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ friends met him many times in human form, eating and drinking with them. He had assured them that they each had a place with Him in God’s house. Peter and the Apostles spoke with boldness, witnessing even in the face of powerful opposition. They proclaimed that they did the deeds of God rather than humans in their new lives as believers. St. Paul insisted that what is Godly is life: “When Christ your life appears then you too will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians, 3:4) Even as he was martyred Steven remained confident that his death would bring him new life with his Christ.
But physical death remains troubling, an evil, perhaps to be feared. If possible we seek to avoid it all together. This attitude is so unChrist-like! If our priority is, indeed, walking each day with the risen Christ then death, while sad, perhaps painful or at best inconvenient, should not be anxiety-producing. It has been said that birth is the leading cause of death. And birth can also be said to be the leading route to full life in Christ! Our deathbed will be a new birth and these exultant scripture readings can remind us that like Stephen and the other Apostles, living fully in the trust of Christ’s love and within His embrace is our path up until the moment of our physical end on earth. We do not seek death because we have been given precious life by God. On the other hand we must not avoid death at such cost that even more suffering occurs for ourselves and those around us. Live as if nothing can separate us from the love of God!
Have you designated a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney and/or filled out advanced directives that will instruct your doctors and your families in the event of a terminal illness or sudden accident? This can be a gift of love for those who care about you and who might be called upon to care for you. You can very clearly state your Christian beliefs, designating appropriate and ethical medical care as you approach end of life.
Read more at USCCB website: "Human life is good and to be protected. All medical decisions ought to reflect this core belief. Yet black-and-white answers to our questions about end-of-life issues are not always possible, and it can be very difficult to know how to make medical decisions…The safest option is to designate a health care agent who not only understands our Catholic values but also shares them and can apply them to current situations and respond to questions as they arise." http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2014/advance-medical-directives.cfm
The Dioceses of Arlington and Richmond have developed an Advance Medical Directive booklet with a guide for Faith-filled moral and ethical decision making available at https://www.arlingtondiocese.org/respectlife/documents/amd.pdf