This week St. Nicholas lost the young life of Steven Gauthier (age 9).
There is nothing that can make sense of this sudden and tragic loss. No positive spin, no explaining or rationalization of this at all. To try is simply wrong, and ultimately evil. Steven had a whole life in front of him, and nothing anyone can say can dull the universal injustice of his death.
Steven like all of us were not created for this kind suffering, and death. Since the first death of Able (Gn. 4:8) to the death of men women and children in a Bangladesh sweatshop, humanity has been plagued by our weaknesses and mortality. But it into this weekness and mortality, that the Lord enters through the incarnation.
“though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Ph. 2:6-8)
Far from God looking down on our pain and anguish like some divine puppet master, He comes to totally identify himself with us. Not in prosperity, wealth, or long life and health, but in our broken and corrupted state.
The same Jesus who suffered and died on the cross for us, laid beside Steven on his hospital bed. The same Jesus who was taken up into heaven and was enthroned with the Father and the Holy Spirit, assured Steven of the nobility of his body and soul, The same Jesus who pours out the Holy Spirit, the comforter the Spirit of Truth , brought comfort and peace to Steven even with his last breaths. And the Same Jesus who will come again in glory at the end of the age, will take Steven by the hand and raise him up on that last day.
This is not a positive spin, an explanation, or even a rationalization. Rather this is a hope. A hope and faith that proclaims that in Jesus Christ, death has been broken and its chains and fetters shattered. A hope that Steven, along with the hundred of millions of people who have died will be healed, and restored to what they (and we) were created to be, children of God made in His image and likeness, and heirs of the Kingdom (Jm. 2:5)
Steven’s death is certainly not right, but it is only in the light of this hope, and our faith, that it can eternally be made right.
May his memory be eternal.