Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

One of the salient features of life is death. That is, very few of us can avoid it. There have been a few exceptions, such as Jesus Christ (although He did die before He rose again), possibly Enoch in the Old Testament (see Genesis 5:24) and, as many believe, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus’ mother. And there are more like Jesus, who died, and were raised up again. But unlike Jesus, they had to die a second time. Among those are Lazarus (John 11:17-44), Tabitha (also known as Dorcas; Acts 9:36-42), and the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-15).

[See also the paragraphs added below on 5/17/2023.]

Recently the reality of death was again brought home to me with two incidents.

While driving to church one week, we saw green ribbons along part of the way, tied to telephone poles and tree trunks. Later that week we learned that there would be a motorcade along that route, so we needed to leave church right away after the Mass to get out of their way and/or not be stuck in the parking lot. We did leave right away, and as we traveled part of the route, we saw many adults and children standing along the way with signs indicating their love and appreciation for the deceased person. I was deeply moved, to tears, and wondered what kind of person would inspire this.

Of course, these days, when you want to know something, you often look it up on the Internet. So I learned that the deceased was a 50-year-old man who had been a school administrator, and much loved by those he had served, because he found ways to show how much he cared for each student, such as learning each student’s name. He had died of a pulmonary embolism, suddenly.

The other incident also happened indirectly through church. There was a white-haired dad, and his daughter (who looked about 50 years old), that we’d see at least once a week at church, mostly in the warmer months, because they would migrate to Florida for the winter. As spring began, I wondered that I hadn’t seen them return. Finally, one day I spotted the dad and greeted him after Mass. I said, “How is your daughter?” He looked sadly at me and said, “She passed away [on New Year’s Eve]. I haven’t felt able to come here for a while.” Of course, I said I was very sorry and I would pray for him. I didn’t say much more, because he didn’t look ready to continue talking.

Later I learned, from another person he had talked to, that his daughter had been (inexplicably?) losing weight. Nevertheless, she got on a airplane to visit her son. Apparently, she got through the plane flight, and after deplaning had a heart attack and died.

So, we never know when death can come. These were both relatively young people. Are we ready to meet our Maker? Have we made our peace with Him and those on earth from whom we need to ask forgiveness or whom we need to forgive?

“Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:32-33). Although these verses are apparently speaking of Jesus’ second coming, or the end of the world, they can equally apply to our own individual lives.

(Added 5/17/2023) To clarify a few things (I am not an expert, so these are mostly my ideas, understandings, or interpretations):

Regarding Enoch, mentioned in the first paragraph above and in Genesis 5:24, see also Hebrews 11:5 — “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death …”

Elijah apparently also went straight to heaven without dying. See 2 Kings 2:11-13: “… And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven … and [Elisha] saw [Elijah] no more.”

As far as Mary, Jesus’ mother, is concerned, here is a quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 974: “… when the course of her life was completed, she was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven …” My husband says this could just mean that she immediately went to heaven after dying, or some interpret it as her not dying. I’ll have to research that more.

Comments on: "We Do Not Know the Day or Time" (5)

  1. Wow, it’s always such a shame when people die before what we perceive as their time.

    I had no idea that people think Mary avoided death. It’s an idea I’ve never been exposed to but will look into now.

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