Brothers and sisters:
Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death.
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.
If I go on living in the flesh,
that means fruitful labor for me.
And I do not know which I shall choose.
I am caught between the two.
I long to depart this life and be with Christ,
for that is far better.
Yet that I remain in the flesh
is more necessary for your benefit. (Phil 1:20c-24)
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul states something that has probably crossed our own minds and speech more than once in our lives: he longs to die, so that he can go home to the Lord; however, he knows that his work is not done and that he still has some living to do.
We often want to “go home” for all sorts of reasons: avoid a painful condition, be rid of an infirm/feeble body, leave a loneliness that pervades our lives, et cetera. When we look at our lives, though, we realize that there is much more in us and that we are not likely to die yet.
I remember a parishioner about twenty years ago who longed to die. She was tired of her condition — she had a horrible cancer — and she wanted nothing more than to be with her God. But, she realized that God had a plan for her and, while she was alive, His plan was for her to share her hope in resurrection as well as her unfailing love of God.
God has called us to be witnesses to His love. We can be exemplary witnesses when our lives are less than perfect. When we are suffering physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we can be great witnesses to God because others know our pain and know our longing yet still see our faith in the Lord.
Whatever your condition in life, be a witness to the Lord this day!
FAITH ACTION: Pray for those who suffer greatly and who long to go home to the Lord. Pray that they have the grace to cling to hope as they share their faith in and love of the Lord with all they meet.