Rev.Br. Kenneth Chigozie Alamezie, BSS
For he seeth that wise men die; likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others. Nevertheless man being in honor abides not: he is like the beasts that perish. He shall go to the generation of his fathers… (Ps 49)
Gradually, the year is winding up. Soon readings at Mass will adopt a different tone than the usual. The Lord, through His bride –the Church—will start in on doing the needful—bringing to our notice the expected-but-rarely-thought-of fact: our inevitable end. Though this phenomenon remains non- negotiable to everyone still harboring the breath of life, yet the reason we tend to shove it under the carpet, give it less or no attention as if it never existed, remains rather elusive to reason, even when it should’ve made the very basis of our individual meditation, each morning.
There are basics in life we shouldn’t ignore, or even try to, considering what enormous life-shaping impact that comprehending them could build in our lives; and this very fact makes the prime of them. It doesn’t matter, then, what opinion one may hold about death; actually we’re all entitled to our respective opinions, anyway. However, the fact remains that someday you will walk the path of other mortals, and so am I. And there’s no need playing down this fact as if doing so will help shrug off its reality. In my opinion, I strongly think that the sooner we get this fact engraved in our bosom, for daily contemplation, the better for us, and society as well.
Scripture says something to this effect, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Ps 90:12). There is no doubt this is one of the greatest prayers ever recorded in Scripture. For, there abound many things, indeed justifiable and unjustifiable distractions today capable of turning our hearts away from contemplating our end, which ordinarily, as already remarked, should form the center stage in our hearts. For only then can our hearts be truly channeled unto true wisdom thus, our individual conduct and relations toward another gain focus and genuine meaning.
Ecclesiastes chapter 12 has a more eloquent and soul-searching admonition to give on this regard. The Spirit, through the preacher (the writer) says, Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, (simply put—now that you still have the breath of life in you) while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, And the doors shall be shut in the streets, ( Yes, the door of that your shop or office shut, while your teeming customers, admirers and friends stand helplessly staring agape at the poster on it; and your goods and loads of other acquired goodies ,then, would feel the cruel hands of sharers, and your array of certificates lie helpless and meaningless at their corner); Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity… For God shall then bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. This is unlike what we would want preached to us, isn’t it? Oh, would that I know when this shall be, my own end, and that the thought of it would dominate my thought daily; how about you?
Certainly, I know that I may’ve distressed you a bit, considering how dearly we love life and loathe being reminded of the inevitable, our end. Please bear with me. But, as already said, we should not play down the very fact, that certainly one day will mark the end of our earthly existence, but the beginning of another–an eternal one. For death in the body does not end life, no! Rather, according to revelation knowledge, as contained in Scripture, it’s the only route to entering into another realm of existence where life does not end. “Unless a seed sown in the ground dies, it cannot bring forth new life”, remember who said that? Thus it is rather foolhardy not to acknowledge this fact, although as cold as it is. Well, no matter how hard one tries to avoid this truth, or shun its mind-probing power, it still stays as an unavoidable and inescapable reality, which with clinical precision, on daily basis and through various means, blares to earsplitting point its reminder trumpet to our near-deaf ears. It’s a pity, really!
Let me move back a little. There is this thing about life that interests me: we actually start a funeral match, each of us, at conception. For some this trip is cut short, as they do not even make it till birth, not even given the opportunity to grasp the color of the blue sky, express that husky melody characteristic of newborns, or experience the tender touch of the mid-wife, or the warmth of a mother’s bosom. To others this tour is snapped at the very prime of their life; you know, just when everything seems to be going on well and the traffic light blinking green. While there are others who may be given the opportunity to tender wrinkles and grow old and gray before expiring.
Now, I’ve got to repeat this question I asked earlier, in my first sharing at the beginning of the year: in what way would you like to leave when death comes knocking? Perhaps with words like that of King Saul’s hanging on your lips, “Then said Saul… I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly”, or with words like that of the other Saul who later became Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2Tim 4:7-8). Whichever, the choice is your s to make. God bless you!