Death is Scary
The thought of death is scary. Yes it is. I must always remember this fact. It is scary because I don’t know what lies next. Something tells me there is something after life. I will not just disappear into nothingness. Come to think of it, does anyone every just disappear into nothingness? The great men and women of the past, people who have made history by their lives and contributions (good or bad) to the world, are still with us. There memories are still fresh in our minds. When we read the great works of philosophers or quote the wise sayings of literary giants like Shakespeare and Wordsworth, when we marvel at the scientific breakthroughs of Galileo, Newton and Einstein, we do not speak of them as of dead and forgotten people. Even more, we live with the inventions of Gate and Zuckerberg; their presence is felt whenever we use the things they have created. Do we really die when we die or do we live pieces of ourselves everywhere?
Eternity is Uncertain
Maybe our fear is that we have not really left our footprints on the sands of time. Maybe we are afraid that we have a bad reputation which we wish to correct before we exit this world. Maybe we desire to go on living so that we can always enjoy the company and pleasure of the things we love and own. Maybe the uncertainty of the afterlife is an uncertainty of my moral state and the fear that there might be more to life than this world. If I would lose my soul in eternity, why not make the most of time? Not even the worst business-minded person in existence would want to think in this way; to waste time so as to waste eternity.
There is a Chance
What if there is a chance, a tiny little chance that there is a life after death, what would become of me? What would become of the pleasures of a hundred years on earth? If I were to live every day in unspeakable luxury and buy every guilty pleasure thirty billion in my account can afford, would it be worth it when I stand face to face with an eternity in which I am consigned to the torturous thought that I have been a fool, that I have wasted my life and I have to live with the consequences of my choice.
Jesus is Alive
Perhaps there is a life after death. Perhaps, there is truth in the words of Peter who says to Cornelius and his household, ‘You must have heard about…Jesus of Nazareth…anointed with the Holy Spirit, hung on a tree and raised to life after three day’ (Acts 10:34-43). Just maybe they really ate with him after his resurrection. Maybe it is possible that if this man Jesus can rise from the dead, he can give me a fresh start by forgiving me my sins. May be with St Paul I can finally lift my eyes to heavenly things; if there is a heaven, that is where my focus should be (Col 3:1-4). Maybe the testimony of Mary Magdalene is not just a scam and the empty tomb is proof that Jesus is alive.
We can live too
I read somewhere that the Gospels are written backwards. They are the fruits of the resurrection. None of the Disciples of Christ really believed that Jesus would rise from death. No one gave him a chance, not even Peter or his beloved disciple. Even after seeing the empty tomb, they still couldn’t understand (Jn 20:9). Maybe we all have doubts about God, about Christ, about eternity, about life after death, about sin and why every ‘good’ things seems to be forbidden. Perhaps it is not the things themselves that are bad but our use of them. Perhaps, I should stop asking questions and set out what I want to do with my life.
We can live twice
If I only live once, what do I want to make of it? Do I simply want to pass through unnoticed, unaccounted for, not fight for anything but simply chase money and the beautiful things of life? If there is one thing most great people all through history have in common, it is that they made sacrifices. While others slept, they slaved. While others ate, they fasted. When others sought fame and wealth, they gave it all up to make their convictions heard. Perhaps, there is more than one way to be alive. We can live in the ideals we stand for and we can live forever. The ideals I wish to stand for are found in the greatest person to ever live. He is still alive in every way. He is God but He chose to become a human person. He possesses everything in existence, yet chose to associate with those whom society rejects as worthless and insignificant. He gave his life, so that death would be rendered powerless. He is Jesus Christ whose death extends through time – past, present and future – to atone for everyone and for every sin we will ever commit so that we would be so moved to love him, to see how precious we are and to love others as much as we love ourselves. I will certainly not died; I will live to recount the Lord’s deeds (Ps 118:17).
Jesus, risen from the dead, touch my heart and free me from the doubts that make me a slave to my sins, so that I can freely love you, love myself and every one of your creatures.
fr Jude Owoh, op
(16 April 2017)