How about some numbers? 2,813,503. and 863.8 and 78.6 and 5.79. What do these numbers have in common? They are from the year 2017. They also have to do with death. 2,813,503 is the number of deaths in the United States in 2017. 863.8 is the number of deaths per 100,000 people in U.S. that year. 78.6 is the life expectancy. 5.79 is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Now, in 2020 we can add another number. Over 100,000 people in the United States have died of illnesses associated with COVID-19. Another sobering number, 862,320 abortions in 2019.
Most of us cope with the fact that we are going to die simply by telling ourselves that it probably won’t be today. We somehow pretend that it’s not going to happen to us, or our friends and relatives, yet it will and it does. For me, at age seventy, I figure I’ve got maybe twenty more years, God willing. Even though no one in my family ever lived past seventy-five. When ever I see a doctor and give them the medical history of my siblings and parents, they do many tests only to discover that I might have been born in a different family.
How do I cope? I rely on the truth as revealed by Jesus Christ, the writers of the Bible, the witness of the saints, and my own experiences of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. While some people want to think of the stories of Jesus, his life, death, and resurrection as fairy tales or myth, I don’t. Jesus really did live, he died, he rose from the dead in a glorified body, and forever will be both God and man. Jesus will come to us again at the end of time. God really did create the universe, no matter if some feel that it somehow just happened. The Holy Spirit really did and does live in us and inspires us to do live good lives.
While some people choose to think of life ending at death, I see no reason to believe that. Death is only a transition to a new life. Many people witnessed the risen Jesus and those experiences are recorded in the Bible and throughout history by the saints. Mary, the mother of Jesus, appeared many times throughout history, bringing new vitality and truth to the world.
I have witnessed the working of the Holy Spirit in my own life and the lives of people I know. I’ve witnessed his power at work. I dare anyone to say that the Apostles, the saints throughout the ages, and those who have experienced God today, are all delusional.
Death is a reality. It is going to happen to all of us. Yet, it is not the end. It is a new beginning, with the assurance that we will live forever in the presence of the one who loves us.
“May the Lord bless and keep you. May he let his face shine down upon you and give you his peace.”