The second reading for Mass on Sunday, the 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time, comes from St Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians. We will hear passages from this letter over the next several weeks. You might like to find time to read the letter as a whole, to get a renewed sense of what Paul is writing about.
We are always full of confidence when we remember that to live in the body means to be exiled from the Lord, going as we do by faith and not by sight – we are full of confidence, I say, and actually want to be exiled from the body and make our home with the Lord. Whether we are living in the body or exiled from it, we are intent on pleasing him. For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Samuel Beckett – whose tombstone is featured above – is perhaps best known for his play Waiting for Godot. St Paul in the passage above considers waiting too, considering the time between death and the general resurrection as a sort of exile from the body, from the who and how we are here and now.
And yet the exile is with the Lord and life in the body is perhaps exile from him, suggests Paul. This is our experience, often, and one that Beckett, especially, explores with great poignancy (and humour).
Yet, in truth, the Lord is never far from us, nor we from him. Judgement Day is not the only day we are with him. In this world we may – indeed, we surely will – have troubles. But we are also never without him, and his love, and his care.
Not sure that Beckett knew that, in this life – though hopefully he will now.
But it is gospel truth, and can transform our day, whatever else the day brings.
Tomb of Samuel Beckett, Montparnasse Paris. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.