‘TO BE OR NOT TO BE; THAT IS THE QUESTION’
I believe we all know of this famous quote from Hamlet. It is an existential question on life and death, quite often portrayed by a person contemplating a skull in their hand. Shakespeare’s take on this question seems quite morbid in my opinion – after all, the list of deaths in Hamlet is quite extensive. By the end of the play (spoiler alert!) the only major character alive was Horatio.
Yet today from the ‘stage’ of our church, we hear a completely different story. Imagine the curtain opening. Spotlight on the lectern, the ‘podium’. Our first reader proclaims the first line: “Death was NOT God’s doing… TO BE: for this He created all!” How wonderful it is to hear these words! 1600 years before Shakespeare, the writer of the book of Wisdom lays out God’s answer to this existential question by affirming that God created all things TO BE, to EXIST. From the beginning of time, God wills that the world and everything in it be full of LIFE, filled with His own Spirit– for this, all “world’s created things have HEALTH in them”.
Our Psalmist praises God and proclaims, “O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, restored me to life!” St. Paul reminds us in the second reading how our Lord is the one who enriches us with all that we have in life. We proclaim together with the Gospel Acclamation how Jesus’ “words are spirit, and they are life”, and Mark emphasises this with a scene in the Gospel: Jesus bringing healing and life to a little girl and a woman who had suffered from an internal bleeding for twelve years. From beginning to end, each and every one of today’s readings speaks of LIFE.
Sometimes when things get tough, it’s tempting to choose (what might seem to be) the easy way out – to give up the fight, to numb our hearts, to become indifferent, to choose “to die… to sleep” as Hamlet muses. But this is not God’s plan for us. Instead, he calls us to have faith and trust in the Lord, even when all seems lost and everyone around us tell us to give up (as in the case of Jairus). He rewards those who are patient and persevere as the woman in the gospel did (for a good twelve years!) Quite often we need to fight through the crowd of obstacles that are on our way to finally arrive to that moment of grace when we can touch the Lord and ‘go in peace and be free of your complaint’.
All in all, the message is clear: our God is a God of Life. I pray that each one of us may be filled with His Spirit of Life and that, faced with the question ‘To be or not to be’, we may answer with a resounding “TO BE!” May we all make choices which lead to LIFE: living our lives to the full, and sharing the gift of Life with all we meet.
God bless, Sr. Devy
PS: Sr. Anabel and I will be away for a couple of months for retreat and a break, so see you in September!