“AMEN, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” (Jn 8,58)
Words of Christ that so confounded the Jews of that time that they started throwing stones at him. These are words Christ said to show that only with him can we have eternal life. Yes, we are meant for eternal life.
Christ himself also said: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14,6) These words indeed require a lot of faith for them to be taken seriously and to be believed. We need to keep our focus on Christ whatever may be our condition, circumstance and situation in life.
But let’s remember that faith is freely given to us. God shares it with us abundantly, us who are his image and likeness, children of his, sharers of his divine life and nature. We should just accept that gift and make many acts of faith since the reality Christ is telling us is something spiritual and supernatural, something that simply goes beyond our natural capacity to understand.
Death therefore does not have the last word for us. As a Eucharistic Preface of the Mass for the Dead would put it, “Indeed for your faithful, Lord, life is changed not ended, and, when this earthly dwelling turns to dust, an eternal dwelling is made ready for them in heaven.”
We always have to keep in mind that we are meant for eternal life. Our life here on earth is simply transitory. It is meant as a test for us to see if what God wants us to be, that is, to be his image and likeness, is also what we want ourselves to be.
That test will have an end, and that is our death. We should try our best to pass that test. And the secret is to stick to Christ always and as tightly as possible. He has given us his word and teaching, his example, the Church and his very own self in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Thus, he also said that whoever keeps his word will never see death. (cfr. Jn 8,51) He is referring here to the eternal death of being separated permanently from God. That’s when we fail in the test God has given us in this life. When we are with Christ, believing and living his word and will, our death would actually lead us to our eternal life with God.
St. Paul encapsulated this most wonderful truth of our faith when he said, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Rom 6,5)
No wonder then that Christ culminated his redemptive work with his passion and death on the cross. Only then would his own resurrection take place. Christ made this point clear when after being rightly identified by Peter as ‘the Christ of God,’ he proceeded to talk about his passion, death and resurrection.
“The Son of Man must suffer greatly,” he said, “and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.” (Lk 9,22)
We have to deepen our belief that with Christ’s resurrection, sin and death have been definitively conquered, and a new life in God is given to us. We are now a new creation, with the power of Christ to conquer sin and death and everything else that stands in the way of our becoming true children of God.