Rambling on the Second Sunday of Lent (Year A)

Advance of age brings a change of perspective; when in our teens we see the obituaries of people in their 60’s and we think “Well, some old people have kicked the bucket.”  As our 60th year approaches, arrives and says good-bye we say “Man, what happened?  They died young, only in their 60’s!”  Why the change in attitude, and when is old, really old?  My Polish grandmother used to say she didn’t feel old until she hit 80; I’m only 60 and feel beaten up by the years and ready for a rocking chair, nursing home or a dirt nap (a euphemism for death and burial, as opposed to cremation.  What would that be?  An ash sleep?)  However in some people’s minds, your age at death is nowhere near as important as how you look.

There are a considerable number of people who worry about what they will look like after death.  “Make sure you put the red dress on me in the coffin, the one I wore to Betty’s funeral.”  “Be sure it’s a closed casket/cremation; I don’t want anyone to see me like that.”  “Dad wanted his glasses on his body for the viewing along with his hearing aids (should we include extra batteries?).”  If DNA analyses were done on these people, do you think they’d find some relation to the ancient Egyptians?  At the resurrection of the body on the final day we will not be raising ourselves, God the Father, through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit will be raising us.  What we will be has not yet been revealed (cf. 1 John 3:2), in other words the eye color, hair tint, clothing options, etc. are not up for discussion (much to my grandmother’s dismay).

The Gospel of Matthew on the Transfiguration gives us God’s perspective: Moses and Elijah had been dead, in the eyes of the world, for a very long time yet here they are standing and conversing with Jesus.  God doesn’t see death as an end, but as a birth to new life.  The Transfiguration is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ divinity but also shows the immortality of the person in God’s hands.  Death is a finality to this pilgrim existence on earth, but a birth hopeful for God’s mercy in heaven.  Now, I wonder what Moses and Elijah were wearing?

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