Fr.Bedros Shetilian – OCP Articles – 29/4/2020
At this moment, when we are in our homes complaining about not going out, there is a colossal tragedy occurring somewhere not far from us. That “somewhere” are our hospitals. Hundreds of thousands are dying, millions are fighting for their lives, and there is pain and tears everywhere.
We – the lucky ones who are home and healthy – are we feeling their pain? Are we hearing when they are crying out? But there is something else going on. A great revelation is unveiling to us. Jesus is here. Jesus is here with us. Jesus is in the hospitals, the centers of suffering today, grounds that become holy and sacred.
Jesus is with the people who are sick, giving them strength and power to persevere and not give up. Jesus is with the people who are dying and do not believe in Him, helping them turn to God and secure their departure to heaven. Jesus is with the people who are dying and have faith, making sure that they leave this world with a clear conscience and peace. Jesus is with the families of the deceased ones, weeping with them and giving them hope and comfort. Jesus is with healthcare workers. He is talking through them. He is especially with those who are putting their lives in danger not because they have to, but because they are following their conscience and cannot imagine doing anything else. Jesus is with the healthcare workers who are sick, and especially those who died while they were trying to save the lives of others. They are today’s martyrs; their paths to heaven are secured.
Death is everywhere. Death is striking the rich and the poor, the West and the Third World, the good people, and the bad ones. It is truly said, “Big numbers are statistics, one death is a tragedy.” In order to feel what is going on, what each one of these cases and their families is going through, we have to look at these stories separately and not talk numbers. That is when we can see what is truly happening.
We have to not only mourn but catch the moment, go beyond and understand the great mystery that is coming out of this tragedy. This is a moment of great responsibility since death is the most important and responsible moment of our lives.
Death is a moment when we are free from the boundaries of our bodies.
Death is a moment when we get rid of the misery and the agony of our life on this earth.
Death is a moment when we are not dependent anymore on the whim of people.
Death is a moment when we are born again to never die.
Death is the answer to all questions of life being unjust or unfair, because no matter who we are – a king or a servant, a billionaire or a homeless, white or black – we will all end up in the same place. That is what matters because what’s much more important is what will happen after rather than what happened before.
Death can be a chance for someone to be cleansed of how bad someone’s life is. One’s sins can be forgiven if he willingly sacrifices his life for others or for a good reason.
Thinking of death in this way does not mean ignoring life. It means the opposite: it means to value life more since our afterlife depends on what kind of life we lead now. A beautiful life here on the Earth leads to a beautiful life in heaven.
Death should be beautiful. Human beings should overcome the natural fear of death and should face death with dignity. It is foolish not to think of death, it is cowardice to live a life pretending that there is no death.
It is better to live a difficult life but die beautifully rather than to have a successful life but die in agony. For this reason, the man should resolve the issue of death for himself; otherwise, his life will be in vain regardless of who he is. It is very important how someone dies, in what mood he goes and what he says. There is nothing more powerful and inspiring than to witness someone dying in peace, someone who knows exactly where they are going. This means that such a person was able to achieve a higher level of consciousness and understanding of what life is at its core.
This means that such a person accomplished the main task in life: understanding life from the perspective of death and what follows death. This means that such a person knows that there is no death, that so-called “death” is just a change in the condition of existence. Finally, such a person not only believes but knows, knows that Jesus conquered death and that He did it for him, so that he never dies.
That is why at this moment, we have a huge responsibility to understand the mystery and the great truth that is coming out of this tragedy we are witnessing and living through. It is our responsibility to see things not only as they appear, but to go deeper and beyond the obvious, especially in times when there are tragedies of such proportions. In other words, we need to look at life from the perspective of understanding the connection between life and death, between transient and eternal, between our current life and the other life, the real-life in eternal peace and LOVE.
May God rest in peace all who have died, may God give comfort to their families, may God be with the sick, may God be with the healthcare workers, and may God help us overcome this challenge with dignity and as soon as possible.
Fr.Bedros Shetilian – OCP Articles