The second reading at tomorrow’s Mass, that of the 3rd Sunday of the Year, somewhat starkly encourages us to recognise that we are creatures, passing things.
Brothers: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
What prevents this from being simply a sobering and probably upsetting or nihilistic reminder of our mortality is, of course, its context. The reading is part of a ritual action which is a memorial, an active remembering, of the Paschal Mystery, the Easter Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.
And Paul, above all the other writers of the New Testament, knew how those who are ready to die in Christ will rise with him. Our lives are characterised by a dying so that in our dying we might live for ever.
Detail from the Church of all Nations, Gethsemane, Jerusalem. (C) 2013, Allen Morris.