Dear Parishioners of St. James:
Praised be Jesus Christ!
As we begin the Season of Advent the Church directs our minds and hearts to the second coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ to judge the living and the dead. Themes of preparation and readiness abound in the readings and prayers in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass during Advent. The end of the world (or our own death) will come soon – within a set number of years. Are you ready to meet the Lord when He comes?
The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed a raw nerve in the hearts of many: the fear of death. Most of us are afraid of dying. Why? Is it the pain; the separation from loved ones; the accounting of our whole life to God; the possibility of hell or the purification of Purgatory? If we are honest, many of us are afraid of dying for a variety of reasons. The pandemic has brought the fear of death to the surface.
Bring your fears about dying to Jesus in your prayer. For those who are in the state of grace (i.e., friendship with God by being free of mortal sins) dying is simply the passage to eternal life where Heaven awaits us (even if we have to spend time in Purgatory). No one who is in Purgatory or Heaven would choose to come back to earth. No one. So, why wouldn’t we want to go there as soon as possible?
St. Paul said that “Life is Christ and death is gain” (Phil. 1:21). If Jesus Christ is your life you will gain infinitely more from Him by dying in Him. St. Paul also said in his first letter to the Corinthians: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? What eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him, this God has revealed to us through the Spirit” ( 1Cor. 15:55; 2:9-10). If you are conscious or a mortal sin do not put off your confession to a priest. Absolution restores a soul to the state of grace and makes it ready for reward in Heaven.
Paradise awaits the believer in Jesus Christ. We hope in Him. We trust in Him. Our faith is certain. Do not be afraid.
God bless you,