LEAVE TO THE DEAD THE CARE OF BURYING THEIR DEAD
7. And He said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the Kingdom of God (Luke, 9: 59 & 60).
8. What can the words "leave to the dead the care of burying their dead" mean? The previous considerations show primarily that in the circumstances in which they were proffered, they could not have contained a censure for the one who considered it to be a devotional duty of children to bury their father. Therefore we have a more profound meaning here, which can only be perceived with a more complete knowledge of spiritual life.
Life in the spiritual world is in effect the real life, the normal life of a Spirit. Terrestrial existence, being transitory and passing, is a kind of death when compared to the splendours and activity of the spiritual life. The body is nothing more than a gross covering which temporarily clothes the Spirit. It is a true fetter which secures it to the soil and from which the Spirit feels happy to be liberated. The respect given to the dead is not inspired by matter, but is due to the remembrance that the absent Spirit imbues. It is similar to someone who bestows an object which belonged to them and which they handled, that is kept by those who had affection for the person as a remembrance. This is what the man could not understand for himself. Jesus taught him by saying: Do not worry about the body, but think first of the Spirit; go and teach about God's Kingdom; go and tell men that their homeland is not to be found upon the Earth but in Heaven, because the true life exists only there.