Today, my wife and I were driving out of the cemetery where our son was laid to rest in January. We noticed an older woman standing beside a newly prepared grave with the dirt still bare. Stopping we got out and began a comforting conversation by telling her we just buried our son and could emphasize with her loss. Holding back emotion she told us it was her husband. Both of us shared our condolences and asked God’s Blessings on each other.
As one looks around the rolling landscape of a cemetery thoughts of so many who have passed on from this life begin to take effect. Their passing leaves a hole or emptiness that only those closest to the deceased can understand. There may be feelings of guilt as in “did I do enough or why didn’t I see this coming?” Death from a lingering illness or addiction usually won’t be as hard as a sudden tragic event that takes our loved ones. But, all death still leaves us speechless and grieving.
Good Friday, on the hill called Golgotha, The Place of the Skull, there hung Jesus. Was it sudden? Only if we remove the rejection he suffered, the trial that was meant to find him guilty, a vicious scourging at the pillar, and the mockery of a crown of thorns. But, all these events were part of the suddenness of inhuman treatment to another human that surpasses all aspects of respect for life. Even animals get better treatment before they are slaughtered.
Scripture does not show the real grief our Mother Mary suffered. As he hung dying, the removal of his lifeless body from the cross, the laying of him in the tomb, and the rolling back of the stone. Did she suffer grief beyond words? She was his mother! She gave him birth, nursed him, went to his side when he cried, and comforted him for his first 30 years. What mother wouldn’t grieve? Yes, Mary the Mother of God grieved.
My wife has come to share with Mary the sudden onslaught of her child gone. Jesus was 33 (approximately) and Paul was 46. How each died is not the point of this article; but that each passed on unable to say goodbye. We may try to reason and understand what it all means.
Until the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, each one who witnessed the Crucifixion was dismayed, hurt, and at a loss. The Resurrection and appearances to his disciples gave us hope.
If we believe in the Resurrection and the promises that Jesus gave us during his ministry then our son Paul will also rise with all of us on the last day. This is the answer to; “Death! When does its Impact Make Sense?” Without the Resurrection of the Christ we have no hope. As St. Paul said; “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching empty, too. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain. you are still in your sins.” (I Cor 15: 2: 13 - 14, 17).
As we stood looking around the the landscape and viewing all the marked sites of the deceased, it is not too difficult to imagine one day, at the sound of the trumpet, all will rise to meet Christ our savior.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Easter season 2020