Glorious Cross May 11
Christ is the victim who dies no more, the Lamb, once slain, who lives forever (III Preface of Easter).
The threat of death normally puts the human person in crisis and on the steep slope toward its gate. The dying person begins by denying the news, closing eyes and ears to the reality. But the inevitability of one’s fate finally becomes obvious, against which the person then rebels in deep anger. The person can go back and forth between denial and anger until the weariness of it all brings the person to bargaining with a promise here or there, to a vow made so as to still have a bit of time. But there is no bargaining with the Master of life who gives life and takes it according to the divine will. The dying person slips finally into the black hole of depression. Who can call the person to a new confidence or to an eventual, liberating acceptance? What consolation can refresh the person either to hope to stay alive or take the last steps through death’s door? It is the Risen Christ who evokes the confidence of the dying person, himself once dead and now eternally alive. It the imposition of hands and the prayer of his Body, the Church, that can allow the person to take up life again or prepare to leave it. It is the anointing of the body by the ministers of the Church that can take away the fear to depart or, perhaps, even save from the threatening illness. Through the Sacrament of the Sick, Christ exercises his power over death and all that precedes it. He is the only anointing that relativizes the strong human prejudice in favor of earthly life and against the passage from it to the beyond.
The wind shakes the leaves of trees like death jolts people. (Ovimbundu)
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