The priest was taking his evening stroll within the church compound and paused when he reached the ‘Garden of Resurrection’ and was proud of himself for having come up with an apt name for the final resting place for the reposed. People from different color, gender, rich, poor, young, old people who died of natural causes, accidents, suicides are buried here and their memories linger here. The garden reminds us that all of us are the same in this place and none shall be different there.
As a priest I have interceded with the Lord for the many souls in purgatory defending their rights to be in heaven like a lawyer and I believe that the souls certainly are benefited by our prayers.
Just as I was walking back another thought came to my mind while the Garden of Resurrection is the place for the people who are physically dead I can’t think of the many living dead in my own parish. Many faces flashed in my mind. People who are married but live as though their spouses are dead, people who have forgotten their responsibilities, people who place real conversations over messages and mobile aren’t all these people spiritually dead?
When the man of the house comes drunk home every night and beat up their wives and children and lock them out of the house in the dead of the night, who does not make an effort to fulfill his duty of a parent are they not dead?
Disregarding the love and affection provided by their parents in their growing years the children who ill-treat their parents are not such children dead? The children who have no time for their old parents and instead of calling them mom and dad use insulting tone to address them are they not dead?
Disrespecting and insulting priests who have been with you administering all the sacrament from baptism to anointing the sick are not such people dead to the world. We are quick to find faults with the priests who have helped us to cleanse our souls through the sacrament of confession and discredit them in front of the non-believers are we not then dead spiritually?
Jesus said Love your neighbor. But the people who are lost to the charms of social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and forget their real neighbors are they not spiritually dead? We forget that we are the temple of the Lord and continue to abuse our body, forget to love others and live a selfish and self-centered life. Are such people not dead to the world?
St Paul in Romans 2:1 entreats us to give ourselves to the service of the Lord and not be conformed to the ways of the world. He says I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. The life style of the present generation is quickly turning the world into a one big cemetery we go on to exist as a living dead with a rotting heart and mind. It is time for us to focus on our resurrection.
The only consolation for the people of this world and our only hope is risen Lord Jesus Christ. All those who believe in Jesus Christ will rise one day and that is why we see so many saints though dead continue to spread light in this world.
The question that stares us today is are we like these people who are spiritually and mentally dead or do we want to mold our lives and emulate the life of Christ? The answer to the question will determine our next course of action.
Just then the church bell rang it was time for the priest to go up to the alter and blessed sacrament to pray for the living dead and offer himself and all the situations and circumstances in his life which reflects death and become a new creation.
Fr. Antony Parakkadavil