“I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me,
though he die, yet shall live.”
Behold faith in the face of death. Death is a moment, a trial. For a believer, however, death is not the end but a passage, a very difficult passage for our sensitivity which is in time. Death is hard, a terrible trial which believers know to be consequence of original sin. But Christ bore the consequences of sin at the Cross and in the mystery of the Resurrection. Jesus rose from the dead for Lazarus, like he rose for us, for each one of us. A believer who sees a loved one die, or sees him dead, should see him in the light of the Resurrection of Christ. Then he will no longer say, like Martha: “I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.” No. For a believer, Christ’s Resurrection is actual (that’s what is wonderful), because the Christian faith is tied to the Resurrection of Christ. The Resurrection of Christ is therefore present for believers, in such a way that death is relativized. The scientific gaze of doctors and scientists on death is not the same as the gaze of Jesus. For Jesus, death is relative to the Resurrection. In order for the Resurrection to be made manifest and visible, there has to be this difficult, painful stage of death. But the almightiness of God manifests itself through that. Death allows God’s almightiness to manifest itself through the Resurrection, to show that death is in view of the Resurrection which shows us Christ’s victory, his victory over death. Through his Resurrection, Jesus is victorious over death, and he wins this victory for us. Through him and with him we are all, as Christians, victorious over death. Christ’s victory goes even that far. As long as we have not understood, in our faith, that Christ’s Resurrection is for us, our death remains like an absolute. There is nothing after death, everything is destroyed. But if our faith in the Resurrection of Christ is complete, then faith will carry our death and transform it. Faith makes us look at death as a necessity so that the mystery of the Almightiness of the Father and his love may be able to manifest itself fully and totally.
Father Marie-Dominique Philippe, o.p.
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Cf. 1 Cor.15:2 and 17.