A 103 year old was asked if heplanned to be around for his 104th. "I certainly do," he replied. "Statistics show that very few people die between the ages of 103 and 104."
Asked how he was feeling, he replied, "Wellit's like this. I'm still a-kickin', but I ain't raisin' no dust."
Easter is the season of hope and love, the antidote to all of this world's suffering and pain. Let me explain.
In a Mission on Vision T.V. April 18 Sister Melanie Svoboda talked about pain and suffering. At a point in her life when she wanted to enjoy a sabbatical, she was diagnosed with Polymyositis, a debilitating auto immune disease. She simply said, "I'm in the big leagues of the faith struggle now."
In a poem she described the world of pain as the time "when smiles leave, songs are silenced and dance becomes impossible." Not one to be daunted, she explained how Jesus came to share our suffering and pain. The fact that Jesus wept should console us.
The world of pain and suffering is our lot and we will need to face it. When sickness comes and our body lets us down, we desperately cling to what we know and had. But that is going to leave us, she said.
We can cling to each other, Melanie said. Our social community is important. The Eucharist gives us bread for the journey, she said, and daily prayer keeps us on intimate terms with Jesus. "We hope for what we don't have," she said, "that a better world is possible."
The real consolation is in that hope for a better world. In a homily entitled "Life and Resurrection", Father Brendan McGuire assures us of this reality.
"One of the great privileges priests have is to be able to journey with people on their last days," he says."When they call us over to the Anointing of the Sickwe get to be there in the most privileged, fragile and vulnerable moments of people's liveswhen they are in the dying process of moving from this life into eternal life.
"From my many experiences of these moments and others, there is one thing that I am absolutely sure aboutand that is I have no doubt in eternal life," McGuire says."I have watched so many people pass from this world into the next, and I have been with them on that journey. I know it is for real because they testify by their actions and by their words of belief in God and being welcomed in that last section of the journey home.
"It is absolute truth for me to believe in the resurrection and in Jesus Christ who claimed to be the resurrection," McGuire concludes.
Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and I am the life. All who believe in me will not die." When smiles leave, songs are silenced and dance becomes impossible, Easter is the assurance of and hope in a better world to come.