Wisdom 2:23-29 Reflection:
In the first reading today we find the answer to the vexed question, ‘why are we afraid of dying?’
“God made man imperishable,” says the opening line of the reading. When we were created God did not intend for man to die at all but to live on and pass over into eternity in way that did not involve death. But the sin of Adam brought death into the world, the book of Genesis, Chapter 3, makes this quite clear.
We are made in the image of God and thus since God does not die, neither should we. But God in Jesus gives us a remedy for the death that the sin of Adam brought to the world.
The reading also goes on to talk of Christian hope in the face of death. To those who do not believe the death of a loved one appears to be a disaster. To the Christian such a death is only a temporary separation, soon to be ended when we all meet again in heaven.
“Slight is their affliction, great is their blessing,” is the words used by the writer to compare this world and the next. A cynic will say that we should have no need to suffer, that God should make us perfect.
The problem here is the great gift of free will. We have to choose to love God. Love not freely given is not love.
The same cynic would be the first person to complain if they felt that their precious free will was being taken away from them.