“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Mt 5:4).
Another word for blessed is happy. How are we to feel blessed, or happy? How do the families and friends of those who died feel blessed? We seem to hear of mass killings through violent acts on a weekly basis. Just this past Saturday at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue eleven were slain and six wounded. From a theological point of reference, one response is that Jesus spoke from the perspective of the eschatological event, his second coming at the end of time, and that we can rely on the hope that Jesus died for us all and we will rise with him on the last day.
I also believe that Jesus was also speaking about our day to day experiences as well. Jesus said, as is recorded in Mark 1:15, “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus, is the kingdom at hand, just an outstretched arm away. Those who mourn will be blessed, will be happy, when we enter into the grief and the suffering of the loss and not run away from the agony and pain that threatens to overwhelm us. It is in the very entering into our pain and suffering that we come to encounter Jesus with his arms wide open ready to embrace us in our agony, ache, and loss.
By experiencing the sorrow, allowing ourselves to mourn, we are in a better position to heal. If we ask God the why of such atrocities we may not receive a sufficient answer and I have not yet heard anyone offer one. I do believe that his Son, who suffered the agony, loss, pain, and hurt as we did, understands what we are feeling. He is present with us and will guide us through to healing. There have been many accounts recorded of those who have experienced consolation from a loved one’s after death encounter.
Today, we celebrate the gift of the Communion of Saints on this All Saints Day. The saints understood and lived the message and truth of the Gospel that Jesus has risen. They have lived their life to the full and have gone before us to the true land of promise, our heavenly home, and from there they cheer us on, encourage us, and intercede for us.
Jesus suffered and conquered death. We need not fear death because through our life in Jesus, death no longer has any power over us. Yes, we mourn the loss of those no longer with us in this reality, yet we also rejoice in their new life in Christ. St Paul of the Cross, taught: “The world lives unmindful of the sufferings of Jesus which are the miracle of miracles of the love of God. We must arouse the world from its slumber.” Let us then not run from but enter into our pain and mourn so that we may experience God’s comfort and peace.