Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

(Acts 13:26-33; John 14:1-6)

People’s hearts become troubled when they have a terminal disease.  They worry about a poor quality of life which includes issues of severe pain, loss of control, and becoming a burden to others.  Hand in hand with quality of life, people desire control over their death.  They also are concerned that their choices will not be honored.  Jesus offers some consolation to those whose death is imminent in today’s gospel.

He tells his followers not to let their hearts be troubled.  Of course, they are disturbed that Jesus is going to die, not they.  Yet the anguish over loss is at least similar.  Jesus assures them that he is going for their benefit and that he will return.  Further, he implies that they can follow him by living in the ways that he has instructed.

We should not expect that everyone embrace Jesus’ assurances when death comes knocking.  To those who resist wanting to take their own lives we can offer some reasons not to.  First, taking one’s life has become trendy leading to others feeling pressured into doing something they do not want to do.  Second, they do not have to use all the mechanisms available to prolong life but may take advantage of effective palliative care.  Finally and most importantly, we will be there to the end helping them as much as reasonably possible.