Praised be Jesus Christ! “Many who plan to seek God at the eleventh hour die at 10:30,” (Seen on a bumper sticker). Yes, we begin a new liturgical year (Advent) with a meditation on the four last things, namely death, judgment, Heaven and Hell. And this is one topic that applies to each of us equally, regardless of creed, color, or class. Father Benedict Groeschel hit the nail on the head years ago when he quipped, “We’ve all got a terminal illness. It’s called life.” As the first of the four things, let’s take some time and think about death and its inevitability. St. Paul disclosed death’s origins when he wrote, “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23). Ever since sin entered the world, death came with it and, like taxes, is an inescapable part of human existence. Years ago the late Father Richard John Neuhaus reflected on death extensively and even if I’ve shared this lengthy quote before, it’s worthy of the space it consumes: “We are born to die. Not that death is the purpose of our being born, but we are born toward death, and in each of our lives the work of dying is already underway. The work of dying well is, in largest part, the work of living well. Most of us are at ease in discussing what makes for a good life, but we typically become tongue-tied and nervous when the discussion turns to a good death. As children of a culture radically, even religiously, devoted to youth and health, many find it incomprehensible, indeed offensive, that the word “good” should in any way be associated with death. Death, it is thought, is an unmitigated evil, the very antithesis of all that is good. Death is to be warded off by exercise, by healthy habits, by medical advances. What cannot be halted can be delayed, and what cannot forever be delayed can be denied. But all our progress and all our protest notwithstanding, the mortality rate holds steady at 100 percent. Death is the most everyday of everyday things. It is not simply that thousands of people die every day, that thousands will die this day, although that too is true. Death is the warp and woof of existence in the ordinary, the quotidian, the way things are. It is the horizon against which we get up in the morning and go to bed at night, and the next morning we awake to find the horizon has drawn closer. From the twelfth-century Enchiridion Leonis comes the nighttime prayer of children of all ages: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee Lord my soul to keep; if I should die before I wake, I pray thee Lord my soul to take.” Every going to sleep is a little death, a rehearsal for the real thing.” One of the biggest changes introduced by modern medicine is an impressive average life expectancy. People live a lot longer these days and that allows us to forget about death and the clarity that it brings to our everyday living. Just a century ago the prospect of dying in our 40s pushed couples to marry young and raise their family immediately. These days, knowing that many will live into their 80s has enticed young people to get their degree, start their career and pay down some debts before even considering the prospect of marriage. Not that any of this is a bad thing... it’s just that things change dramatically when death is postponed and pushed to a place where it doesn’t factor into our daily lives. Christians are baptized into the death of Jesus that we might also one day rise with Him. Do we talk about death? How do we feel about our death and the death of our loved ones? Are we preparing ourselves and our families for death? St. Joseph is the patron of a happy death, so let’s ask him to help us as we prepare for the day God will call us home from this world.
May God bless us with peace as we prepare to leave this world and live with Him forever!
Your friend in Christ,
Tuesday - Friday: 8:00 AM
Saturday: 4:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM & 10:00 AM
Saturday: 3:15 - 3:45 PM
Monday - Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
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Welcome from Our Pastor
Welcome to Christ the King Catholic Church! Ever since 1938 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Our mission statement is essentially found in the stained glass window above the main altar: “For Christ our King.” Insofar as God made us and we belong to Him, we have come to... Read More