Devil's linking God to death destroys faith

Maria Kozakiewicz

WORD MADE FLESH

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – June 28, 2015
Wisdom 1.13-15; 2.23-24 | Psalm 30 | 2 Corinthians 8.7, 9, 13-15 | Mark 5.21-43
June 15, 2015

God did not make death nor does he rejoice in the destruction of the living.

The devil is a persuasive liar. One of his greatest victories takes place when he persuades us that God is the source of death, that he sends death upon us.

If accepted as an article of faith, the belief that "God made death" becomes a huge wrecking ball. I know many people who, having lost a parent or a beloved sibling, especially at an early age, turned their backs upon God permanently.

Do not fear, only believe. – Mark 5.36

'Do not fear, only believe.'

Mark 5.36

To them, he, who is the source of life and love, became the God of death, the great killer and maimer. When faced with deep grief, it is better not to mention God at all than to say something like "Accept it, it was God who willed the death of your mom," or "It was the will of God that your baby sister died."

You could have safely said such words 100 years ago when knowledge of faith was much stronger. Not now. Not when we have become a society of religious illiterates.

There are those who no longer practise their religion and come to church only for weddings and funerals. Weddings emphasize the union of two happy people; the focus is on the loveliness of the bride and groom. God's participation in their bliss is not obvious.

Funerals make us face the question of our final destination. The funeral Mass is very serious and full of God's presence. Every liturgy needs a certain degree of knowledge of one's faith; it has to be decoded to be properly understood.

The solemn words of the funeral, especially in the ears of those who never attend Mass and do not understand even the words "life" and "resurrection," sound ominous. Again, God becomes associated with death.

Jesus, who called the devil the father of lies, brought several people back to life, not only to turn their families' mourning into joy, but also to show the fundamental truth that God gives life, not death.

The son of a widow, the daughter of Jairus and finally Lazarus who had been entombed already – all returned from death to life. Then came Jesus' own resurrection. These events took place for a purpose; they were not a show of divine power.

There is a deep root to the ease with which the devil persuades us that God is the killer, not the giver of life. It is our mistrust of God. Original sin has been caused by this lack of trust, and we continue that legacy of mistrust.

How many of us truly believe the words "thy will be done" mean we trust that God gives us only the best things, life being one of them? How often do we suspect that by saying these words we give God permission to inflict suffering on us?

This Sunday's readings should be meditated upon by all, but especially by those who carry the wound of painful memories. Jesus, I trust you.