St Paul states:
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.
This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;
if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.”
According to the ‘gospel’ of popular entertainment a zombie is a creature that, though currently existing, is just the ‘Walking Dead.’
[Just to be clear, I actually like the show; not for theology, philosophy, and life direction, but just for entertainment value. Silly me!]
The same that is said for a zombie can also be said for the vast majority of secularized, unbelieving Americans, many of whom are unfortunately ‘fallen away’ Catholics. For popular society inundates us with movies, television shows, and literature which depicts the ultimate meaning of life in apocalyptic evolutionary disaster mode, with heroism and purpose coming from sheer brutal survival.
This has some dramatic entertainment value, but this is not Catholic and, if not supplemented with a vision of hope, produces the violence and ‘culture of death’ inhumanity which proliferates in our once great nation.
Pope Francis, sharing the same faith as St. Paul, perpetuated in the Holy Spirit, through the Body of Christ, ecclesial and sacramental, expresses the Catholic view on life, and life in light of death, in the Light of the Risen Jesus.
Pope Francis reflects on an honest reality concerning death: “How many people–I can understand them–get angry with God?”
He continues, by describing a foundational responsibility of the Catholic when meeting a person who has lost a loved one: “Those who do not have relatives to spend time with and to receive affection from, should be aided by the Christian community with particular attention and availability, especially if they are poor.”
The Pope states that our presence, and patience, is vital: “With a sincere and patient process of prayer and interior liberation, peace returns.”
Concerning our deceased loved ones, Pope Francis speaks with the Wisdom of Catholic realism, gained from prayer and Scripture: “Our loved ones have no need of our suffering, nor does it flatter them that we should ruin our lives… ‘love is strong as death’ (Song of Songs 8:6)…The risen Jesus, when his friend Mary tried to embrace him, told her not to hold on to him in order to lead her to a different kind of encounter (Jn. 20:17)…our life does not end with death (Wisdom 3:2-3)…”
Pope Francis utilizes the Preface of the Liturgy of the Dead: “Although the certainty of death saddens us, we are consoled by the promise of future immortality. For the life of those who believe in you, Lord, is not ended but changed. Indeed, ‘our loved ones are not lost in the shades of nothingness; hope assures us that they are in the good strong hands of God.”
Francis continues: “The Bible tells us that ‘to pray for the dead’ is ‘holy and pious’ (2 Mc. 12:44-45).’ Francis reminds us that ‘St. Therese of Lisieux wished to continue doing good from heaven.’ He also offers a word from St. Dominic: ‘he (St. Dominic) would be more helpful after death…more powerful in obtaining graces…the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in the Lord is in no way interrupted…but reinforced by an exchange of spiritual goods.'”
Francis, moreover, offers anti-zombie advice: “The better we live on earth, the greater the happiness we will be able to share with our loved ones in heaven.”
Nothing could be more Catholic than that!