Every death we experience in this life, be it of a family member, a friend or a complete stranger, hits us with jolting truths to get us to stand up and take notice. Psalm 119:144 tells us why: “Your testimonies are righteous forever; Give me understanding that I may live.”
God wants to lead us into understanding things around us because He wants us to live … to live with eternity in our heart. He also wants us to understand death so we can recognize it for what it is. Which is why, with the passing of dear friends like Dcn. Mar Noble and now of Margot De Borja, we are pushed to turn inwardly to God and reflect even more deeply about death and life.
The physical death of a dear one gives us three (3) things: a visual picture, a strong
encouragement, and a reminder of our eternal hope with regards to complete conversion.
It is a visual picture of what complete conversion is: the shedding of what is physical for the spiritual; what is sinful for the holy; what is corrupt for the incorrupt; what is mortal for the immortal. Complete conversion is really a 180-degree turnabout—a re-turn to God. This happens when we put off the sinful, corrupt old man, renew our mind, and put on the new man “created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22–24)
It is a strong encouragement for complete conversion because our earthly life is passing away. Complete conversion allows us to live in the power of our baptism in Christ. St. Paul wrote in Romans 6:5, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” Indeed, we know the power of His resurrection in this life because of
complete conversion, and so we can proclaim with great joy: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians15:54b–55, 57)
It is a reminder of our eternal hope found in complete conversion. St. Paul described this hope in Hebrews 6:19 as “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil.…” With this hope, “we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh …” And because we have been united with Christ, we have this reminder to “draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:19–23)
In walking in complete conversion, we can now rejoice like Zacchaeus: “Today salvation has come to this house!” (Luke 19:9a)