HOW WE MUST DIE (EASTERN
Christ had risen and had gone out
of the tomb while it was still closed and sealed. He went through
the wall, having now a glorified body. He would do this several more
times, coming in and out of closed doors.
Thus, when the tomb was opened, it
was empty. The women informed the disciples accordingly and, when
Peter and John arrived, they saw the linen cloth and "they
understood" -- Christ had risen from the dead.
If the body were stolen, the
thieves would not have removed the linen; it would have been easier
to carry the body with the linen than without the linen. Besides, it
would be less suspicious to carry a wrapped body than a naked, dead
body. If the body were stolen, the thieves would have not taken the
leisure of folding and rolling the linen cloths and setting them
neatly apart. The way the linens were arranged showed that there was
no confusion, no haste. At one glance, the message was clear. . .the
man wrapped in the linens leisurely stood up, removed the linens,
folded them neatly and calmly walked out, i.e. Christ had
Christ was born in poverty and He
died in poverty. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and had no
clothing to cover Himself with. "I was hungry and you fed Me. I
was thirsty and you gave Me to drink." But Christ never said:
"And I was dead and you buried Me." Even the disciple who
wanted to follow Christ was prevented from burying his father.
Of course, we must bury the dead;
but without extravagance and unreasonable vanity. But love for the
departed makes us desire to provide beautiful tombs. . .no, not
love, but vainglory. For whatever nice things you provide shall be
consumed by worms, time and nature.
The best funeral preparation is to
clothe yourself with almsgiving. Decorate your soul. This is what
will make you distinguished, glorious and in safety. Yes, cover the
body while committing it to the earth but first clothe the soul with
almsgiving. If, in life, the Christian is told to dress simply, how
much more in death?
But on-lookers will laugh? But why
mind the laughter of fools; these are not the things that deserve
Easter is the most important feast
of Christendom; with this, our religion can convince others that
death is not death , that perishing in this life is not perishing
but merely going to a better dwelling place. Therefore, show that
you are not anxious of your funeral; instead you are anxious of your
virtuous life as your winding sheet.
The way to prepare for our funeral
is a life of almsgiving. When we die, let us have Christ as our sole
heir. And let us beg our relations to continue doing almsgiving for
the sake of our departed soul. With this, we may rest assured that
we shall also resurrect with Christ.
St. John Chrysostom: "On
the Gospel of John"