Sunday 29th March 2020
Fifth Sunday of Lent
Ezekiel 37:12-14, psalm 129:1-8, Romans 8: 8-11, John 11:1-45
If there is one thing human beings fear most in this life, it is death. For the past few weeks that the world has suffered severely from Corona Virus Pandemic, we see how people are expressing fear that they are going to die. This scenario has given many fraudulent individuals the opportunity to create fear in gullible ones among us and to even deceive them into giving them what they have. Some have also predicted that it is the end of the world. This has made many people more afraid.
The question that comes to my mind as I reflect on the whole situation, is to ask why human beings are so afraid to die? Is it that we are not aware that we will surely die one day? I think the reason many people are afraid to die is because they are yet to understand that death does not mean the end of life, but a transition to a higher and better life. If we are aware of this, we will not be afraid to die but try harder to die in Christ.
This is the assurance God gives us in the first reading of today. The prophet Ezekiel tells not to be afraid of death because when we die, God will open our graves and give us a new life. St Paul also tells us in the second reading that it is the unspiritual who are engrossed in evil that are afraid to die. You do not have anything to fear about death if you are truly a child of God.
This teaching that Jesus has power over life and death and that he will raise the righteous from their graves when they die is very clear in the gospel reading of today with the raising of Lazarus from the dead. I'm sure the sisters of Lazarus though they had faith in Jesus, would have been afraid about the death of their brother, but when Jesus came, he brought back to life, a man who had died and had been buried for four days.
In a nutshell therefore, we should not spend all our attention and effort on avoiding contracting Covid-19 and be in danger of death, a lot of energy should also be spent on living a good life. Instead of the fear of death therefore, fear of missing the kingdom of God should be more paramount because we will still die one day whether we accept it or not and no matter what we do about it. God help us.
Rev. Fr Michael Osatofoh Eninlejie MSP