In today’s general audience Pope John Paul II said that reflection on death puts things we ususally consider absolute into perspective, during his catechesis on Psalm 48, "Human riches do not save."
The Holy Father said that the psalm, which "condemns the illusion created by the idolatry of riches," proposes "a realistic and severe meditation on death, the unavoidable end of the human existence."
"Often we try to ignore this reality in every way possible, putting off thinking about it. But this effort, besides being useless, is also inopportune. Reflecting on death is beneficial because it puts into perspective so many things that we have made absolute, such as money, success and power."
"The psalm suddenly changes,” he said. “If money cannot 'save' us from death, there is somebody who can redeem us from the dark and dramatic reality, God."
"In this way a horizon of hope and immortality opens up for the just man,”said the Holy Father.” God rescues him and snatches the faithful from the hands of death because He is the only one who can conquer death, inevitable for man."
For this reason, indicated the Pope, God "invites us 'not to fear' and not to envy the arrogant rich man in his glory because when he dies he will be stripped of everything, and will not be able to take with him his gold or silver, fame or success.”
“However," he concluded, "the faithful will not be abandoned by the Lord Who will show him 'the path of life, the fullness of joy in His presence, endless happiness at His right hand."