Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Montague, Jairus' daughter. All dead. The first three names you probably recognize. The last two probably not.
The first three are celebrities and their deaths have caused many to step back and think. I've heard a variety of things said about them. The things said about Ed McMahon and Farrah Fawcett were all good. I've heard some bad comments about Michael Jackson. Let's face it--he was an odd duck and accused of some horrible things.
The forth name, Montague, is the first name of a homicide victim on a call that I responded on this week. As police officers, we become cynical about people and unfortunately our first thoughts about people who are gunned down in the middle of the street is that they are probably are not the most stellar citizens. I do not know anything about Montague except this-I met his mom that night. Someone had gone to get her and she came downstairs in her bathrobe. Just before I came into contact with her the paramedics told me that he was dead. Normally, I will try not to do a death notification if I can help it. Figuring her son was about to be covered with a blanket there was no way I could get past telling her. When she asked her he was going to be okay, I had to tell her that he did not make it. Family members shortly started arriving. Ask any cop who's worked a homicide scene and they will tell you that a scene with family members showing up is very tense. There is a lot of screaming, anger, crying and sadness.
No matter what we think of someone we really need to look at them with the eyes of God. We should do this normally but especially when they have passed away. We should remember that they are children of God made in His image and likeness just like we are. We need to remember that God loves them just as He loves us. We need to pray for their families in their time of sadness and we need to pray for the deceased and that they may be in God's loving arms. That is what God wants of everyone and if that is what He wants who are we to want any different.
In this coming Sunday's reading, a synagogue official, Jarius, comes to Jesus because his daughter is ill. By the time they make it to his residence the family tells Jarius that his daughter is dead and that he should not have wasted Jesus' time. Jesus asks, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping?" Then after having everyone leave He raises the little girl from the dead.
This passage helps us to remember that Jesus conquered death. Not only was He able to raise Jarius' daughter and later Lazerus from death, but through His own death and resurrection we are made anew and shall live forever with Him.
We are reminded in our first reading from the book of Wisdom that God did not make death and that He does not like it. It was through sin that death entered the world.
Death is a time of sadness and reflection. It's a time for us to see those that have died in a new light--with the loving eyes of God. It's a time for prayer and of hope. Please, in the coming days pray for Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Montague. Look past their sins as we ask God to look past our own and pray for God's mercy.