Ecclesiasticus 3:19-21, 30-31
Of the three readings this Sunday, my attention was caught by the second reading, the letter to the Hebrews which asks: “What have we come to?”
When situations or events in our own life, or the lives or deaths of loved ones leads us to ask: “What awaits us when this life comes to end?”, the Hebrews answers by saying: “Perhaps you should re-phrase the question. Don’t ask “What awaits us when this life comes to an end?” -but “What does our life become when it reaches completion?”
My mother died just a few days after the Sunday we heard these readings. Forty years ago, now, and still real. The family, at the suggestion of my sister, the Sister, Sr Carmel, chose this reading for Mum’s requiem mass, chose it for the comfort it gave us.
What awaits us is a life being brought to its completion, to its completeness. What hasn’t been achieved so far by our efforts, or despite our efforts, God -Mercy and Compassion – will complete for us. All that we have worked for will finally be realised. All that we longed will be granted. Our seemingly impossible dreams will come true.
The ‘end’ is not some terrible judgement with threats of punishment, but reward and repair. We come to completion in the heart of God.
And for those who remain ‘behind’ when a loved one passes, there will be, eventually, the deep, heart-felt experiencing and wonder “OMG he/she are still here, just a heartbeat away. And I’m not just dreaming!!!”
Fr Tom McDonough is the current provincial superior of Holy Spirit province.