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Life: the Essence of Salvation

  “God did not make death,” the book of Wisdom declares. Our God is a God of life, whose will for us is expressed in such words as being, wholesome, undying, imperishable. This God calls us “to walk in the light of Christ,” which is life, and not in the “darkness of hatred and sin,” which is death.

We must, therefore, be on the side of life, opposed to death. This should include opposition to all those things that diminish life.

The Gospel is about two healing incidents in the life of Jesus, healings which show that Jesus willed life, and willed full life. The Greek word for being healed also means being saved: to be brought to full life is the essence of salvation.

The Second Reading mentions another form of the diminution of life: poverty. No one should live on the survival level: “there should be a certain equality.”

We live in a society that pays lip-service to respect for life, and does not even do that much for quality of life. Jesus Christ challenges us to create a society that values life and rescues people from all forms of death and dying.

Every man has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are necessary and suitable for the proper development of life. These means are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and finally the necessary social services. Therefore, a human being also has the right to security in cases of sickness, inability to work, widowhood, old age, unemployment, or in any other case in which he is deprived of the means of subsistence through no fault of his own.

U.S. Bishops, Pastoral Letter on Marxist Communism, 1980:32.

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring. This entire three year cycle is available at

Art by Martin (Steve) Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go