June 28, 2015
Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24
“I was not; I was; I am not; I care not.” Such is the translation of the common Epicurean epitaph from ancient Rome: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo. Somehow, I think this line captures many people’s attitudes toward death today. It is easy to fall in to viewing death lightly as a merely natural event after which the body decays and turns to dust. Yet every time someone dies, there is a voice inside us shouting, “That’s not right!” Death is not supposed to be the end.
WHY THE REMINDER?
This Sunday’s first reading grabs two different short passages from the beginning of the Book of Wisdom, one of the deuterocanonical books included in Catholic Bibles, but not Protestant ones. From these six verses, it is hard to get a sense of the surrounding passages. But this reminder about the significance and origin of death comes in the midst of a moral exhortation. The author warns us, “Do not invite death by the error of your life” (Wis 1:12 RSV). After the first excerpt, the text goes on to recount the problem with people who summon death by their deeds and actually make a covenant with it (1:16). Everything we do either orients us toward death or toward life, and this reminder about the nature of death points us in the right direction.
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