Life and Death

The Gospel account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead has several points of spiritual significance, here are three of them:

  1. The physical life that Jesus gave Lazarus is real in the sense that Lazarus was physically dead and Jesus brought him back to life. The spiritual life that Jesus gives to those who are spiritually dead (because they live in sin) is real because Jesus gives them new life in Him.
  2. Jesus performed a miracle to give life back to Lazarus, but the same miracle will lead directly to the decision of the Sanhedrin to kill Jesus. That is ironical, but the way these things happened was according to God’s plan of salvation. Similarly, although God’s plan for us may seem ironical at times, we must continue to trust in God, knowing that in the end, it is the best for us.
  3. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already died and he had been in the tomb for four days. Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to Jesus, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” (John 11:23-24) Jesus raising of Lazarus from the dead prefigured the resurrection of the dead on the last day. What exactly is the resurrection of the dead on the last day? 

Reference to the resurrection of the dead in the Old Testament can be found in the Book of Daniel: Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some to everlasting life, others to reproach and everlasting disgrace (Dan 12:2). In Jesus’ time, the Jews were divided about the resurrection of the dead; the Sadducees denied it, but the Pharisees believed that the resurrection of the righteous will occur at the coming of the Messiah. The Catholic Church firmly believes that just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives forever, so after death the righteous will live forever with the risen Christ and He will raise them up on the last day. (CCC 989)

When a person dies, the soul is separated from the body; the human body remains on earth while the soul goes to meet its Maker. After the particular judgment, the souls of those who die in God’s grace and are perfectly purified will live forever with Christ in heaven, while the souls of those who die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love are separated from Him forever in hell. The souls of those who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are assured of their eternal salvation, but they undergo purification in Purgatory. (CCC 1023, 1033, 1030)

But that is not all. The souls of those who have died and have been judged still await their reunion with their bodies. On the last day (i.e. at the end of the world), the resurrection of all the dead, both the just and the unjust, will precede the Last Judgment. That will be the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear voice of the Son of Man and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation (John 5:28-29). Then Christ will come in His glory, and all the angels with Him… Before Him will be gathered all the nations, and He will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and He will place the sheep at His right hand, but the goats at the left… And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (CCC 1038, Matthew 25:31,32,46)

To those who will take part in the resurrection of life, their resurrected bodies will become like the glorious body of Christ; their bodies will no longer be susceptible to infirmities, disorders and diseases; they will feel no more pain, nor die anymore. They shall be with God forever and their joy will be complete. Isn’t that what all of us should ultimately hope for?

Come to our liturgies for Holy Week and have a truly blessed week. The liturgical schedule for Lent and Easter can be found on our website and Tabella app. You can also pick up a printed copy in the church foyer.

April 9 is Easter Sunday. On this greatest feast day of the Church, we share our joy with our parish family with an Easter pot-luck after the 10:30am Mass. There will be Easter cake for everyone. Also bring your children and grandchildren for our annual Easter Egg Hunt after Mass.

In preparation for Easter Sunday, there will be altar server training after Mass today.

Gwinnett County Public Schools is hosting an Early Learning Field Trip for families with children from infants to 5 years of age. The event will be held in the Environmental and Heritage Center, located at 2020 Clean Water Drive, Buford GA 30159. If you are interested, pick a flyer at the front foyer of the church. Register online by April 13. 

Attention all Chinese Cursillo members: We will have our monthly ULTREYA today. In order for us to begin the meeting and end on time, please proceed to the conference room immediately after Mass

Prayer List: Vun Lilian, Liang Chenjing, Pan Bohao, Angela Griffin, Wang Dacheng, Long Guorui, Zhang Qiang and Xu Taicheng.