One of the gospel passages that relatives frequently choose for their loved one’s funeral is today’s Gospel from John. In it, Jesus is reassuring his disciples that although he is leaving them he is preparing a place for them and will return to take them with him. “So that where I am you may be too.” It is reassuring and expresses our belief that with death we don’t cease to exist. Jesus is clear that he will take us to be with the Father.
We have every reason to feel troubled in these days as we listen to the daily briefing coming from Downing Street where the number of those who have died from Covid-19 is announced. We do all we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. We don’t want to catch this virus. For some it has been fatal, and we love our life and don’t want to die in this way.
But I have to ask myself the question: “Am I ready to die?” How do I prepare for my death? Jesus says “Trust in God still and trust in me”. What does this mean? Jesus to telling us he not just a guide to salvation but he is the source of life and truth. We prepare for our own death by living a life that embraces Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus does not give us an ethical code or a set of rules to adhere to but he gives us himself as the way. His way is his love of the Father’s will and his outreach of love to everyone he meets.
The truth of God is too vast and mysterious for us to grasp. Yet we find the truth in Jesus. If we follow Jesus, if we make him the centre of our life then we will grow in his likeness. Jesus Christ, will work though us. He is our life. As he said “As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, whoever eats me will draw life from me”.
The American writer Scott Hahn has just publish a book; “Hope to Die”. In the postscript he wrote the following “Hope is what will sustain us in the days yet to come. It also will make it possible for us to experience joy in this day, no matter what sorrows presently afflict us. Again, death is not the end. We were made for life. We were made for joy. And in Christ, that life and joy will be ours. In Christ, that life and joy are already ours. Death brings the fulfilment of that life and joy, but we can live in it now. Even in the midst of grief. Even in the midst of war. Even in the midst of plagues and poverty and confusion. If we are in Christ, we have nothing to fear from the terrors of the world. They cannot kill the life inside us. They cannot deprive us of the joy that is ours. They cannot rob us of the hope that fills us — the hope of eternal life”.