Man is a rational animal. Often, he has to make choices. Two factors that help us in this task are human reason and divine wisdom. As they work in opposite directions, every choice that we make will bear the signs of this internal conflict. But when it comes to the all-important issue of life and death, we find that human reason and divine wisdom converge in a single point. This is why man upholds the value of life everywhere. Unlike many other issues, here there is no contradiction between what God commanded and what we believe.
If someone asked you about your choice vis-à-vis life and death even the most miserable man on earth would select life. This has been the pattern visible throughout history. But this pattern is now changing. The number of people opting death over life is on the increase.
Do you want to live or to die? The question touches your very existence, both here on earth and hereafter. It is a question that each one of us has to answer. And the choice is yours. No compulsion, no coercion. It is your decision. What is your choice? To live or to die?
God’s choice was clear. It was life, it is life and it will be life forever. ‘I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live’ (Deut 30:19). God the Father had the memory of Adam and Eve choosing death over life, in spite of His stern warning against it. He does not want a repeat of history and His words are unequivocal, that we should choose life.
Jesus teaches us that he came to give us life in its fullness. ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly’ (Jn 10:10). Jesus, the Tree of Eternal Life, calls us to get our names enrolled in the Book of Life. Christian life is a witness to this firm commitment to life. But sadly, today Christians are rapidly losing interest in life. When the Church teaches that human life should be respected and protected from the moment of conception through the moment of its natural cessation, many countries who boast of their Christian heritage, enact laws that curtail the very right to life.
Assisted death is a euphemism for helping someone to suicide. Now look at the list of countries where euthanasia or assisted death is legally permitted. Belgium, Luxemburg, Canada, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Columbia, United States, Australia and New Zealand. These are countries who chose death over life. People from the U.K and France where this facility is not available travel to Switzerland to get killed. We have seen people migrating to other countries to earn a living. Here people travel across national boundaries to ‘earn a death’. It is difficult to believe, but the truth is that assisted deaths contribute to 1.50% of all deaths registered in Switzerland. In Canada it stands at 1.90%.
New Zealand has a total population of 5.1 million which is less than the population of New York City. New Zealand is a secular country where Christians constitute 38% of the population. An interesting fact is that the number of persons claiming that they do not follow any religion is steadily increasing in the country. Their numbers stood at 35% in 2006 which rose to 42% in 2013 and then to 49% in 2018.
This island nation legalized assisted death in November 2021. New Zealand Parliament voted in favor of the bill legalizing assisted death with 69 members voting in favor and 51 against. This decision was confirmed by a popular referendum which saw 65% of the population approving the legalization of assisted death. Next seven months saw 400 New Zealanders apply for this ‘attractive offer to die’. Of them 143 persons had already gone with the wind of death by undergoing assisted death.
New Zealand is just an example. Countries that once boasted about Christian ethics and values as the founding principles of their nations, are fast drifting away from basic Christian teachings. They are constructing super highways to death and at the same time making the road to life still narrower.
Tell me, where do you stand in this crucial battle between life and death? Embracing death instead of life has only one meaning; Replacing God with Satan!
Catechism of the Church discusses the issues of euthanasia and suicide under the fifth commandment. Both are morally unacceptable. Helping another person to die is nothing but abetment to suicide. It is indirect homicide and the blood of that person will fall on those who help him die. Before making your choice on assisted death, read carefully, not the statute that permits it, but the eternal law of God. ‘For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life’ (Gen9:5-6). The final book of the Holy Bible tells us that this reckoning will happen on the last day when murderers will be denied entry into the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Assisted death is a misnomer. It is collaboration with devil to commit murder. If you really want to assist somebody, then do it while they are alive and continue it till his natural death.
Let us pray; O Lord God, Lord of life and death, grant us the grace to choose life and reject death. Give us the strength to make our choice final and irrevocable.