In passing through death we have only the Lord with us.

Tuesday, 8/11/15

Moses, after having led the people out of Egypt, and after forty years of putting up with their complaints as rebellions, was not allowed to lead them into the Promised Land.

The Lord had told me that I shall not cross this Jordan. It is the Lord, your God, who will cross before you.”

It seems unfair that Moses should have been denied a part in the triumph for which he had given his all.

Perhaps, though, there was a strong religious reason for denying Moses the right to lead the people through the Jordan, into the Promised Land.

The religious reason that prevented Moses from leading the people further is that the Jordan symbolized death; and no one but God can be with you in your passing through death.

When death was the only way America’s blacks could escaped from slavery, they would sing, “Show me that stream called the River Jordan, that’s the old stream what I longs to cross.”

Chapter Three of the “Book of Joshua” describes the people’s Jordan crossing. When priests carrying the Ark of the Covenant stepped into the flooded Jordan, the waters backed up, allowing the Ark to be carried down in to the depth of the riverbed. The priests left it there. It allowed the people to pass by up into the Promised Land.  

As we pass through the river of death it will be Jesus on the cross opening the way.

We priests administer the last Sacraments, and then we sit back.  In Korea, at the end of their war, I watched many young people die of TB. I remember in particular a girl in early twenties who six year earlier had been ready for Baptism when her father sold her to an older man as a second wife. With that illegal marriage, we couldn’t baptize her.    

Six years later, riddled with TB, she had been sent home to die. She sent for me; and when I had baptized her Mary Magdalene, and given her Communion, she said, “You man go now, Father.”

She died that evening, with no one but Jesus showing her the way.

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