the “LAST THINGS” things in Life
The Season of Lent is the time for us to get our spiritual orientation back in focus. We return to the essential and basic issues of being a Christian. The direction for our thinking comes from the life of Jesus Christ. We are urged to think about heaven, hell, purgatory and death. And these factors of life are not just a matter of some kind of intellectual exercise. They do concern us because we understand that life is not forever. And they are central to the suffering, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have a need to make sure that regarding them, we are well placed as they pertain to the last things in life. It is impossible to see Jesus during the Season of Lent, which stresses his suffering and death, and not think about why he has undergone these experiences. All of these show him facing the reality of the “Last Things” in life. Nowhere do we find the relevance of these “Last Things” more than in times of terminal illness or the deathbed.
The attention on Jesus places human suffering and death into the foreground. All of us are familiar with such experiences, and they reveal just how limited we are to control them. No matter how much we try, they will always be there to hit the point home over and over that, in the end, we don’t have the final say over life and death. This time of Lent is very consoling because we have the assurance of our faith that Jesus gave meaning to suffering, through which he remained loyal to the love of the Father for us. We are deeply touched by such suffering of an innocent person, and we are appalled at the cruelty he suffered at the hands of the men who persecuted him. However, as he took raw pain and suffering upon himself, he was always in connection with God, the Father. It was never senseless, meaningless suffering as he understood that every breath he took and every step he walked, it was to do the will of the Father. God’s will is that through His faithful Son the whole world will be redeemed.
His Son, Jesus, is the final and lasting Covenant of God with His people, which will remain to show that henceforth we live in the order of love, which conquered hatred, and everlasting life, which overcame death. Jesus becomes our hope in eternal life because he prepares a room for each one of us.
There is the real possibility that we can use our freedom and default on our path to salvation. This happens when we detach ourselves from the life of God in Jesus Christ. The conscious decision to move our selves outside of the space of redemption leads to self-condemnation, which has hell as its consequence. It is the consequence of persistent resistance to God’s love and mercy, and of the hardened desire to be alone on the pedestal of life. Such a person wants nothing from God and expects nothing from God.
The Season of Lent is such a moment of serious reflection and decision about life and death. When we face Jesus, we are hopeful. He has already shown the way. It is in relationship with him, and by following him that we can deal with the “Last Things”.
The search for answers is with him as we are on pilgrimage through life to our final destination.
Fr Ivanhoe Allies
March 15th - 2019