I am Not the God of the Dead, but of the Living
In today’s Gospel (Mark 5:21-43), JESUS raises Jairus’ twelve year old daughter from the dead. Jairus was a synagogue official and when Our Lord arrived at his house the little girl had already died. JESUS said, “Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead but asleep” for which He was ridiculed by the bystanders. Then He said to her, “Little girl, I tell you to get up” and she at once got up and began to walk about. This is a miracle of resurrection. Several such miracles are mentioned in the Gospels.
Similar events have also occurred in the lives of the saints such as St John Bosco (1815-1888). In 1849 a fifteen year old boy named Charles was dying in Turin and asked for Don Bosco to come to him, but unfortunately the priest was away, and so his parents called another priest to whom he made his confession. By the time Don Bosco returned the boy had already been dead for over ten hours. He said the boy was “just asleep”, just as JESUS said of the daughter of Jairus. But everyone in the house knew the boy was dead and the doctor had even signed the death certificate. Don Bosco entered the boy’s room, tore open the sheet in which he was wrapped and said, “Charles, Rise!” The body of the boy immediately began to move. He opened his eyes and upon seeing Don Bosco, greeted him and thanked him for coming. Charles explained how he had concealed some sins in his last confession, and so after he had died saw himself surrounded by a mob of demons. Our Lady intervened and said, “There is still hope for you Charles. You have not yet been judged”, at which point he heard Don Bosco telling him to rise. His mother and aunt then left the room allowing him to finally make a good confession to Don Bosco, after which Charles cried out for all to hear, “Don Bosco has saved me.” All those present rushed into the room to hear the story and our saint remarked on the goodness of God in showing the value of a good confession. Don Bosco asked Charles whether now that he was prepared for Heaven he would rather go there straight away or remain on earth. With all his family present and with much emotion he said, “I’d rather go to Heaven.” Then Charles, once again leaned back, closed his eyes and died.
Many saints have brought people back to life who have subsequently gone on to live many more years. But the important thing is not having our lives extended by months or even a few more years, but rather preparing ourselves for when God does call us so as we might go immediately to Heaven, perhaps even bypassing Purgatory. So let us pray that we may die in a state of grace fortified by the Sacraments of Penance, Anointing of the Sick and the Holy Eucharist, that we may gain the Plenary Indulgence and thus be safe for all eternity.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC