No one wants to die, especially when we know that life is good and we have loved ones whose presence makes life worth living. It is natural for all of us to not want to die despite the fact that we are surrounded and confronted by death at every moment; despite that fact, we know we will die one day. The changes in our body remind us daily that we cannot live forever in this world. Even some children do not want to grow up for the same reason, because growing up means losing the innocence and bliss of childhood and taking on the adult life with its burden of persistent consciousness. Death is the debt we all owe for being alive in this world. As soon as a child is born, she is old enough to die. It is a law of biological life which is so hard to accept even though it is more certain than anything we ever could know. But there is an important question that needs to be addressed: if every human being has to die in obedience to the biological law of life, why did Jesus have to labor himself to raise the dead who would eventually die again? Would it not seem to be a postponement of agony and pain of death?
The miracle of raising the dead is a very symbolic act of Jesus indicating to us that physical death we experience as human beings does not tell the whole story about being human. As human beings we are mortal by virtue of our biological life in this world. At the same time, however, we are immortal because we are made in God’s image, and God is immortal. In the truest sense, our true life is immortal; it is the life of the resurrection of which Our Lord Jesus Christ is the first fruit (1 Cor. 15:20). The real death is then to be deprived of this true immortal life of the resurrection. But in what does this immortal life of the resurrection consist?
If we are made in God’s image and we cannot truly die because God is immortal, then the only way we reach the immortal life of the resurrection is to live as people made in God’s image. And what is God’s image? It is LOVE! God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), all commandments of God are summed up in one commandment that has two sides: Love God with all that is in you and your brothers and sisters as yourself (Mk. 12:33). It is only by the love we show towards our brothers and sisters that people will know us as disciples of Jesus Christ (Jn. 13:35). All this means then that only a life of selfless love leads us to true immortality. That is just the life Jesus lived and left for us to follow. Our immortality does not lie in the things we have accomplished for ourselves, but in how much we have utilized our gifts and talents to love selflessly, and so join God in the continuous creation of the world into a better place for God’s children. While our bodies face death and dying each day, our souls are made stronger through our life of love and care for each other. This is our true immortality, for all things will pass away but our acts of love towards God’s children will remain forever, for they are acts of God.
We have each a choice: to live in such a way to enjoy the immortal life of self-giving love in the resurrection or to live an immortal life of selfishness deprived of love’s touch! To choose to love is to choose heaven and to choose fear and selfishness is to choose hell. Both are two states of immortality and we experience them already in this world. Every choice we make in every moment of our life either takes us to heaven or hell from this very moment. Choose to love so you can live!