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The Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope. The diocese was elevated to a full diocese, as the diocese of Nassau in June 1960. On June 22nd, 1999, the diocese was again elevated as the new Archdiocese of Nassau.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A time to mourn and a time to celebrate

Cancer, AIDS, domestic violence, old age and natural causes are just a few of the causes of death in our country today. Now we are hearing about "death by dengue fever." Our God promised us approximately 80 years "seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong; most of them are toil and sorrow; they pass quickly, and we are gone, Psalms 90:10", yet we see and hear about many of our loved ones leaving so soon. 

The wails and screams heard at hospitals, crime scenes and funerals can be heartbreaking and overwhelming at the same time. There are numerous thoughts running through the minds of onlookers: how could this have happened, why him or why her, what's going to happen to the children or wife, but how many of us ever give thought to the soul of that person?

When we become Christians it should be our number one priority to lead souls to Christ. We should never judge a person, not even at death, for no one knows whether or not a person died in a state of grace, as some are even called home at the last moment of death, providing the opportunity was there. Someone could have lived a life of crime and evil ways and be welcomed into God's kingdom through repentance. There is a joke that many people will be surprised to see people in Heaven who they never would have expected to see there. For at the last breath of someone's life, they are able to ask Jesus for pardon of their sins providing it came from the heart.

If we profess to be Christians then we should know that one day we will see our loved ones once again providing they died in favor with God. Death is always sad, but we are assured in Jesus that we will see them again one day. We mourn for them because they are no longer with us on this earth, however we should also be celebrating, for they have been called home (our true home), thus to one day await our arrival. It's never to late to invite a dying relative to call out to Jesus. I can say without a doubt that my father is with Jesus, not because of the way he lived his life (he always went to Church and gave to others), but because on his death bed I made it a point to remind him of Our Savior. It is then that we should encourage our loved ones to call on the God of the Universe for pardon. When my father shut his eyes, did the sign if the cross I knew then and there that he would be in a better place. We must remember that death is not the end but rather the beginning of the life promised to us by Jesus.

We should not be waiting for the moment of death to preach to those we love, it should be an ongoing process. Once we live our life for Christ we are able to spread that joy to others, for others will want to experience the joy that you are drunk on. Give thanks to God for the opportunity that you have had with that person while they were on earth, ask for forgiveness if you feel as though you did not contribute to getting that person closer to Jesus. We are all called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Have you reached out to someone you know who's soul appears to be in jeopardy? Not many are given that last moment to call on Jesus for forgiveness. We will all walk down that road one day, so try to live your life in a way that will give your relatives the assurance that one day they will meet you again.

As Catholics we believe that we can still be close to our deceased love one. We should continue to pray for them and they will always pray for us. We believe that we are all united; the saints in heaven, the souls in purgatory and those of us still on earth? Our belief is expressed in our profession of faith, "the Apostles creed":
I believe in the Holy Spirit
the holy Catholic Church
the communion of saints
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body
and life everlasting.

Scripture shows us the power of God in the rising of Lazarus from the dead. No, this is not to say that we should expect this miraculous endeavor to reoccur with our deceased relative, for Jesus used this occasion to show to us the mercy and awesome power of our Heavenly Father. Jesus could have healed Lazarus where he was but he used this opportunity when all hope and doubt was fading away. Jesus loved Lazarus very much and was sad too when he learnt of his death, but he knew what the people needed at that moment, hope and faith. Jesus wants us to continue to trust in Him and have faith that Heis still in control no matter the circumstances. We must believe that we will see our loved ones once again.

When Jesus saw the tomb of Lazarus he wept. Jesus feels our pain and shares in our pain. God does not abandon us in our time of suffering, He suffers with us. Holding his head up to Heaven Jesus prayed to the Father these words: "I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me" Jn 11:42.

In our times of trouble and agony consider the story of Lazarus to increase our faith in Jesus. Allow Jesus to give you new life in Him through His saving power and mercy. He will never abandon us especially when we cry out His name. Just as he raised Lazarus from the dead, he wants to free us from the bondages of sin that puts our soul in jeopardy. Jesus wants us to place complete trust and faith in Him that he may heal us of the hurt and sadness we feel of the lost of a loved one.

A beautiful song to remind us to place our trust in Jesus..."Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus"

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