Death

Today, being on Holy Saturday, I have thought a lot about death. Specifically four types of death: natural, physical, sacramental, and ultimately spiritual death.

Natural death, I’m talking about the death of nature. Father Manny and I have a great privilege to live in perhaps one of the biggest houses here in Fremont. in the rectory, where we have a large window, we could see through. Just a couple of months ago, almost every tree looked dead. The walnut has no leaves whatsoever, the Japanese maple tree looks like it has no life. and yet just recently after a few rainy days, buds, leaves, they all came, they all showed off. Now I have a beautiful view. Don’t envy me, I see roses, I see beautiful birds, I see beautiful lemon trees racing to produce fruits. Nature has its way to show you and I that death is part of a new beginning. resurrection is part of its cycle of life. Even our own body, if you are doctors, here in this house of God, you know perhaps more than I do. Every day 50 billion cells die. In just a few days or so, our body completely renews. Amazing isn't it. 50 billion cells die so that we could keep the balance, and therefore, grow. Death is an inherent part of our life. Resurrection, it's already programmed in our biological system. so that's for me, it's a natural death.

physical death. Physical death is more than just a natural process of dying. I'm talking about someone who stopped living all together. If you look at the back of the church, there's a little small memorial board. Maybe you, after this mass or sometime, take a look at those faces. Some of those are our people, people that we knew, we loved, and we shared life with fascinating lives. today, I had a fascinating conversation with a man about to die. Many of you know him very well. His name is Thanh Nguyen, he used to be ushered in this church for more than 10 years. Second stroke now, he's half paralyzed, difficult to talk. I asked him: are you worried about death at all? and he said no, my time is about to end. If I die today, I would be a happy man, because it's holy Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday. This is the most beautiful week I could die. That man was not afraid of death. but he knew in his heart, his time was up. So for him, death is part of life. For those who believe in Christ, death is not an end, just a beginning of a new life in christ. that is what I'm talking about physical death.

A sacramental death is a little bit different. My dear participants of RCIA, those of you have said yes to this process for a while now. you are going to embrace something that Magnificently beautiful foreshadow by the flood in the town of Noah. Foreshadow by the baptism of our Lord. You’re going to enter into the water of baptism; you're going to embrace the very death that our Lord has done on the cross. our sacramental kind. With the waters of baptism,, with the Holy Spirit, and the words of our Lord, being said over you. When the water wash you, clean off your sins, and make you his sons and daughters. Remember you die for Christ, just like St. Paul talked about it today. Think of this, my dear brothers and sisters that you die to sin and live for Christ. At this moment, tonight, tonight all of us are going to be reminded that we once died with him on the cross. Thanks to the water of baptism, thanks to the spirit of Christ, and thanks to our Lord Jesus. Don’t forget our dignity, don't forget our vocation, don't forget who we are before God and before the world. We are not just anyone; we are his beloved sons and daughters. Thanks to this sacramental death, we become brothers and sisters in God's family. don't forget that.

The final kind of death is scary, very scary. And we won't want to experience it - Spiritual death. After we end our life here on earth, we’re going to be judged according to what we have done in our life. we try our best to carry out the works of mercy and love, we will be guaranteed a place in heaven. However, if we reject him, if we deny him, if we say no to him, if we ignore him, if we fail to carry out, we might be judged to eternal damnation. That is what I'm talking about:

The final kind of death is scary, very scary. And we won't want to experience it - Spiritual death. After we end our life here on earth, we’re going to be judged according to what we have done in our life. we try our best to carry out the works of mercy and love, we will be guaranteed a place in heaven. However, if we reject him, if we deny him, if we say no to him, if we ignore him, if we fail to carry out, we might be judged to eternal damnation. That is what I'm talking about:

spiritual death, eternal death. That is what we don't want to experience. So my brothers and sisters, tonight when we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, we are reminded of our finality, and yet also our destination. we have been born into this life, we have been given life, we have been given spiritual life, sacramental life, we're going to be with him, our vocation from now on. Let's move on, let's go out into the world and proclaim loud and clear that we are God's children, we are his people. And we dare to proclaim him loud and clear, we dare to love to the end, we dare to share our goodness, we dare to serve one another, we dare to say to the world that we are not afraid of dying for Christ, for God's sake. That is who we are. Christians, Catholics, don't forget your vocation, don't forget our identity in Christ, and don’t ever forget. Only then, can the world become a better place, only then can our lives actually shine like the star in heaven. let's experience once again, let's once again say to the good Lord our promises, once made our baptism as we witness the baptism confirmation and the first holy Eucharist of our brothers and sisters, now at this very moment.

死亡

今天是聖週六-復活節的守夜彌撒,我想了很多關於死亡的事情。對我來說,死亡有四種類型:自然的、肉身的、聖洗聖事的、和最後心靈上的死亡。先來談談大自然的死亡。Fr. Manny 和我有幸住在費利蒙市內最大的房子之一。在這教區的宿舍,我們有一個大窗戶可以看到屋外的風景。就在幾個月前,幾乎每ㄧ棵樹都像死了一樣。窗外都是光禿的核桃樹和毫無生意枯乾的日本楓。然而在下了幾天雨以後,花蕾,葉子,都回來了。祂們炫耀的展現出艷麗的顏色。我真有眼福,看到了盛開的玫瑰花,美麗的小鳥,還有檸檬樹爭相結果。大自然告訴我們死亡過後就有生命,復活是大自然循環的一部分。就拿我們的身體來說,我們每人每天的新陳代謝就有500多億個細胞的生長和死亡。所以在短短幾天內,我們便更新了全身的細胞。 用500多億個新細胞來代替500多億個死亡細胞以維持平衡,繼續成長,這真是非常的神奇。復活,它早就是大自然生命循環的一部分。有生就有死,這種死亡對我來說是大自然的死亡。

第二個是肉身的死亡。肉身的死亡不止是一個自然的死亡,那肉身死亡的人再也不能與我們生活在一起了。教堂的後面,有一個小小的紀念板。彌撒過後,也許你可以去看看那些登錄在紀念板上的面孔。有一些可能是你所認識,所愛的人。我們曾經快樂的一起享受生命,但現在卻不能在一起了。今天,我和一位臨死的人交談,這是一段有趣的對談。你們中的許多人都認識他。他的名字叫 Thanh Nguyen ,在聖若瑟堂的彌撒中負責帶位10幾年。最近他遭受了第二次中風,半身癱瘓,難以說話。我問他:你怕死嗎?他說:不,我知道我在這世界上的的日子即將結束,如果今天我死了,我會非常的快樂。因為今天是聖週五、然後是聖週六,和復活主日。這是我能死去最美好的一周。他不怕死,因為他明白,他的時間到了。對他來說,死亡只是生命的一部分。對信耶穌的人來說,死亡不是結束,它只是ㄧ個在耶穌內新生命的開始。這就是我所說的肉身死亡。

聖洗聖事中的死亡是不一樣的。親愛的 RCIA 慕道者,你們準備接受這件來自天主的珍貴禮物,已經在這朝聖的旅途上走了一段時間,諾厄洪水和主的受洗,預報了這件神聖的禮物。你將以洗禮之水來擁抱耶穌在十字架上的死亡。聖洗聖事就是以洗禮之水,天主聖神,和聖言,來洗淨你的罪孽,使你成為天主的兒女。要牢記你是為基督而死,聖保碌宗徒說 “我們與基督同死,也要與祂同生” 。親愛的兄弟姐妹們,在聖洗聖事中,我們的老我已經死了,從今以後我們的新我要為基督而活。在這一刻,就是今晚,我要提醒這裡的每一個人,我們都曾與耶穌一起被釘死在十字架上。我們要牢牢記住基督徒的尊嚴和使命,牢記基督徒在天主和世界前的身份。我們是天父心愛的子女。感謝聖洗聖事,使我們成為天主家中的兄弟姐妹。我們永遠不要忘記這一點。

最後一種死亡最可怕,它就是心靈上的死亡。在我們肉身結束以後,耶穌將根據我們一生中所做的事審判我們。如果我們盡力做慈悲和愛心的工作,我們會得到永生的保障。如果我們拒絕祂,否認祂,忽視祂,不執行天主賦予我們的使命,我們可能會被審判到永遠的詛咒中。這就是心靈上的死亡,永死。這絕不是我們所希望的結局。

兄弟姐妹們,今晚我們慶祝主的復活,我們也思考了我們的結局,和生命的目的。我們已經出生了,被賦予了生命和靈魂,也領受了聖事的生命。我們的志業就應該是與天主在一起。讓我們前進,進入這個世界,大聲傳揚我們是天主的孩子,祂的子民。放膽的宣揚天主,敢愛到底,分享我們的良善,並且互相服侍。我們放膽說,我們願意為基督而死,為天主而死,我們就是這樣。基督徒、天主教徒們,不要忘記你的聖召,不要忘記你基督徒的身份,永遠不要忘記。只有這樣,世界才能變得更美好,我們的生活才能像天上的星星一樣的閃耀。今天,我們見證了兄弟姐妹們的洗禮,堅振,和初領聖體。我們也重新體驗到自己的洗禮,再次向主許諾我們的皈依。