Archive for the ‘funeral homilies’ Category

Funeral Homily

When I came to bless the remains of Guy immediately after his passing, I noticed that he was holding a yellow daffodil in his left Imagehand. Mary told me that she placed that beautiful flower with him because Guy loves flowers and they have been growing them together for a long time. This made me research about daffodils and what they mean. Daffodils are said to “have meanings of faith, honesty, truth, forgiveness, and forthrightness. They are ever vigilant in returning each spring, and with their return we are reminded that their beauty is capable of following on the shirttails of even the harshest winter. When we give daffodils to someone, it is as a token of forgiveness or as a token of appreciation for one’s honesty or forthrightness.”

Certainly these meanings of daffodils resonate with the life of Guy when we think of his character and experiences as a person. I haven’t met Guy personally but based on what Mary shared to me, I can say that Guy is a straightforwardly honest person. Mary shared to me that they were once invited for dinner in a house of a friend. When their host served them a (cake) for dessert, he loved it so much that he said to them, “I love this cake! This is much better than Mary’s which is thin like a record.” At first, this sounds like a fitting time for Mary to give him a daffodil as a token of forgiveness for his candid honesty about her cooking, right? But I think coming from Mary sharing this story, this seems to be a token of appreciation of his love, kindness, and fidelity to her throughout the years. I remember how my Dad would lovingly tease my mother in the same way. This is what we call in Filipino “paglalambing”, that is, a certain way of expressing one’s fondness to someone you love.

Isn’t this a kind of way of how God shows His love to us sometimes? In our life, we encounter a lot of challenges, problems and hardships. Sometimes we felt like Martha in the Gospel today telling Jesus, “If you have been here, this could have not happen to my brother or this could not have happened to me.” And for certain, Jesus understands how we feel in times of challenges and hardships in our lives. He understands our questions. This is so because Jesus is a compassionate God. He is a God who shares in our sorrows. He is a God who shares in our grief. And amazingly enough, God shows His great love to us most especially when we are down, when we are deeply in need, when we are most vulnerable. We may not feel it sometimes but He has always been there for us no matter what. This is what the poem “Footprints in the Sand” conveys us. If you are familiar with it, it tells us about a man walking on the beach with Jesus. As they walk further together, the man looked back and saw the two sets of footprints they left on the sand. He noticed however that there are certain times when there is only one set of footprints and he remembers them to be the times when he was at the lowest moments of his life. So he asked the Lord where He was during those times. The Lord replied, “It was then when I am carrying you in my arms.” My dear brothers and sisters, this is how God shows us his love and compassion to us. The greatest when we are at our lowest, the deepest when we are at our shallowest – a sort of a loving tease, right? – A “Paglalambing” to someone He loves.

Certainly, this happens to us. This happens to you. This happens to me. This happened to Guy. For Guy, it could be a long fight against an illness; for his family, it could be a loss of a loved one. For us, it could be personal, professional, or financial problems. But whatever challenges we may have in our lives, they should not damper down our spirits but instead make us stronger as a person. We have to believe that we can rise from them with the help of our compassionate God because we know, just as our first reading tells us, “Our redeemer lives and we shall rise again.” In the same way, we should also learn from Guy on how to hold on to his favorite flower, the daffodils, and learn from them in dealing with the challenges in our lives, that is, the loving tease of God in our lives. We should be able to return to life every spring, beautiful as ever; stronger than before to face the harsh winters of our lives just as the daffodils do.

To end up, I would like to quote the poem entitled “Daffodils” by William Wadsworth. “For oft, when on my couch I lie; In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye; Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.” My dear brothers and sisters, may your encounters and experiences with Guy in this life bring you great memories just as the daffodils did with the author of this poem. That whenever you feel “vacant” or “pensive,” the memory flashes upon “that inward eye, That is the bliss of solitude,” and your heart will be filled with pleasure, “and begin to dance with the daffodils” – the happy memories of Guy. Amen.

Funeral Homily

Just beyond expectations…. These are the words I could describe Bob, the man whose life we are celebrating today. In my stay Imagehere at the parish, I have known him for some time. I can describe him as a true Catholic in the sense that he always sit on his favorite pew there at the back corner of the church, with his favorite suspender’s attire, booming voice and of course, with his friendly and warm character. I thought I knew him already. But somehow after having visited him and hearing the stories of his family about him, he just shattered my expectations. His daughters shared to me that he was their matchmaker. He thought of ways how they would be able to meet the guys he had his eyes for them. I am just amazed by this because this was very unique of him. I just thought that most of the fathers, including my father, that for them, there is no one out there who is good enough for their daughters. I just remember how my father would think of schemes to frighten the suitors of my sisters visiting our house. But Bob was unique in his way as a father. He wanted the best for his daughters and he made sure that they meet the one who would love them well just as he does.

This certainly is the case of Jesus in our Gospel today. Jesus shattered expectations. For the Jews during those times, to be blessed is to be wealthy and contented; to be sanctified is to be successful and happy. But Jesus went the other way. He instead proclaimed, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted. Yes, Jesus went beyond human expectations to express his love for his people and disciples. Indeed, he wanted the best for us, his children. For that, He made sure that no poverty of spirit, no sadness, no persecution, would stop us from feeling his love and care for us. What a great Father God is to us just as Bob is to his daughters and to his family!

Speaking about family, Bob is a great family man. He exemplified it well in his life and even again went beyond what was expected of him. As you may know, Bob in his first marriage had six children. And when he married Caroline, he took as his own, her three other children. He considered them all as his one large family, not just one of his two families. He made sure that they all come together as a family during celebrations and special times. He cooked for them, fed them and of course, taught them how to make his famous gravy.  He was the unifying person for them, the one who brings and holds them together as a family. Isn’t Jesus like that in our lives as well? He is our unifying factor, the one who ushers us to a communion with God and with one another?

As kindhearted and loving person Bob was, he was also a demanding person. To those of you here who happened to be around his cooking, you need to finish all your food if not, he would ask you to finish it with a PLEASE in his booming voice, right? Cara, his granddaughter, described him as the “Big Bear”  – her Big “Grandpa Bob” Bear. Indeed, he was a commanding person but a loving one. As Ana, his other granddaughter, puts it, “he truly cares”, a person who will always be there for her, for his family, for his loved ones, to protect and safeguard them against anything.

Certainly, he practiced what our second reading today tells us, “no one lives for oneself.” He lived his life for his family. He lived his life for his loved ones. For this, he has followed the way of the Lord, who out of his great love for us, came here on earth to save and protect us from sin and evil. And to Bob we say then, “Blessed are you who has given your life for your family, you will always be remembered. Blessed are you who have walk the ways of the Lord, the gates of heaven will be opened for you.”

Knowing him as a man who always had been in control, Caroline, his wife, was greatly amazed of Bob in the later part of his life. As he grew weaker, he relinquished control and trusted his loved ones and his family to take care of him. He was so appreciative of Caroline for taking care of him. He was so appreciative of his family, his children and grandchildren, for their love and concern for him. He was so appreciative of his community for thinking of him. I believe that this is one of the many things we can learn from the life of Bob. Trust on those who love us and ultimately, trust in the Lord who loves us, the God who would always take care of us, who would always love us, and would always be concerned and thinking of us. Indeed, we have to put our lives in the hand of God and let Him be in control of our lives because just as our first reading tells us, in God’s hands, no unbearable torment could ever touch us and bring us down. His grace and his mercy will always be with us, his holy and blessed ones who trust him. Amen.

Funeral Homily (Irish)

While reflecting for something to share to you about Jack, I found a poem by an unknown author that somehow described who JackImage is to us. The title of the poem is, “What Shall I Say About the Irish?” The poem goes:

The utterly impractical, never predictable,

Sometimes irascible, quite inexplicable, Irish.

Strange blend of shyness,

pride and conceit,

And stubborn refusal to bow in defeat.

He’s spoiling and ready to argue and fight,

Yet the smile of a child

fills his soul with delight.

His eyes are the quickest to well up with tears,

Yet his strength is the strongest

to banish your fears.

His hate is as fierce as his devotion is grand,

And there is no middle ground

on which he will stand.

He’s wild and he’s gentle,

he’s good and he’s bad.

He’s proud and he’s humble,

he’s happy and sad.

He’s in love with the ocean,

the earth and the skies,

He’s enamoured with beauty wherever it lies.

He’s victor and victim, a star and a clod,

But mostly he’s Irish—

in love with his God.

I could say that this poem hits its mark in one way or another in describing our beloved Irishman, whose life we are celebrating today. This is so because this is what I have heard from the people that he loved. I remember Shawn, his son, telling me a story of him working with his brother, Tom, and his father, who is a self-taught farmer, in the field one day. They were fixing a fence that was broken and having forgotten to bring a sledgehammer for the job, he just picked a big rock on the ground and then began hammering away. After a few hits, he said, “you know sons, “sometimes the old ways is just the best ways.” Indeed, “the utterly unpredictable and inexplicable, Irish, quite stubborn to admit, I forgot the sledgehammer!”

But Jack is not just your ordinary Irishman; he is the one who, as the poem says, “is enamored with great beauty wherever it lies”. He found the most beautiful of them all in his wife, Sally. Sally described him not just as her loving husband but more so as her dearest best friend in life. For better and worse, they showed their love for each other for almost 50 years. That is how long they exchange their loving “please dear and thank you dear” in their dinner table. The dedication that Jack gave to Sally and to his family just manifest that his devotion is truly grand. Life for him is always about family and faith and nothing else; indeed, for Jack, there is no middle ground.

And lastly, what makes him mostly Irish, just as the poem tells, is his faith in God. Just as Shawn described, Jack has a deep abiding faith – he is, indeed, in love with his God. Despite of all the bad things happening in the world, he believed in God’s abiding goodness and love for his people. This is what made him strong and dedicated in his life despite of the many challenges and hardship that come along his way. He believed that God would always prevail for him. He truly believed in the words, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And because of his faith, God has chosen him to be his own. In this life, God tried Jack and he has found him worthy of his love and mercy. In the next, we hope and pray that he is now blessed and happy in the very presence of our God in heaven.

And now, as we look back at the life that Jack has shared with us, the most important thing that we can learn from his example is this, whoever we are as a person, whether we are American, Filipino or Irish, whatever our status, outlook and principle in life, we have something to offer in our own unique ways to make a difference in the life of the people that we loved and encounter. If are honest, understanding and kind to our brothers and sisters, we will be greatly respected and loved. If we are truly in love with our God and have abiding faith in him, we will certainly be blessed by Him and be contented in our life right now and in the next.

For the lessons and memories, let us now thank Jack for a life well lived. Let us now bid him our last farewell. And being a true Irishman, he will not leave us without his blessing, and so to him, we say, “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, and the rains fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the loving palm of his hand” [in heaven]. Amen.

Funeral Homily 5

Posted: May 19, 2013 in funeral homilies

Funeral Homily 5

It is said that “Life is all about relationships.” Today, we celebrate the life lived by Jan andImage we remember the relationships that she nurtured and shared to each and every one of us here. She is a loving mother, a dedicated daughter, a devoted grandmother, a close relative and friend, and a respectable acquaintance and co-worker to all of us here. She lived her life for the people that she loved and she dedicated her time to take care and serve the people that she cherished. This is who Jan was – a person who makes people feel loved, appreciated and connected. Her mom,….., told me that when she was young she always asked visitors and neighbors, “Are we related?” If they said no, she would find and research for one, and mind you, she was very good at it. She would find that connection whether you like it on not.  When she became adult, she painstakingly devoted some of her time to organize her family tree and make sure that everyone knows his or her part in it. This unique characteristic of Jan shows us that she truly cares for her family and the people that she loved and cherished. She lived and dedicated her life for them.

This, my dear brothers and sister, shows us the connection she shares with Jesus, our Lord. Jesus also lived his life here on earth for the people that he loved and cherished. Out of his great love for us, he became man like us to save us and redeem us from sin and death. Yes, Jesus gave up his life for us, the very people that he loved and cherished, so that we can have life in him. And because of this, “We now live in the newness of life,” just as the letter to the Romans tells us in our second reading. Now, knowing Jan and her great interest for connection, she might be delighted up there in heaven because we are able to find a connection between her life and Jesus. This could be the greatest connection that she was longing for in her life here on earth.

Her greatness in relationships is well manifested in the relationships that she had with the closest people in her life, her parents, her children and her husband, Gerry. To her parents, …., Jan was a gem to them, their baby. She did her chores just as mommy asked her and she played accordion with her. She was indeed, her mother’s daughter. But she was also her father’s daughter. They would ride in the tractor together and she would help out in milking cows. She knew how to work just as daddy taught her. Jan became who she was because of the loving guidance of her parents, …… Of course, no one can beat her for being a supermom to her pal, partner and pill, her children Connie, James and Angie. She was always there for them. If they need anything, mom was there for the rescue. She slept in gyms and tents to support them in their activities growing up.  She even drove for them as they compete for sporting events. As they shared to me, they could sleep very well when their mom is at the wheel because 55 miles in the highway is all it gets. Indeed, she was extra careful for her babies were there with her. And lastly, her relationship with her husband Gerry. No one can deny her dedication and love for him. She took care of him for 28 years. When he got into an accident and became paraplegic, she could have gone away, but she stayed with him. Truly, she lived up her promise, “for better and for worse, I will love you and cherish you forever.” Now, they are now together again. What a great example of love they had for all of us. But just as any couples do, they too had arguments with each other. The most famous was about cows. No one would ever give in to which is better, Holstein or Jersey? Both having grown up in dairy farm, they knew what they were talking about. And for Jan, it was Jersey and that’s it! Someone even told her, “I can see you converting to Catholicism but I can’t see you converting from Jersey to Holstein.” Yes, my dear brothers and sisters, she knew what she’s rooting for.

Just as I mentioned, Jan converted to Catholicism when she got married to Gerry. She was raised Presbyterian by her wonderful parents. In her practice of faith, she never forgot her Presbyterian upbringing but she also embraced her Catholic faith. She has always said that there is actually little difference in being Presbyterian and Catholic. True indeed, there is a lot of what we share in common than what separates us. Jan is a testimony of this. Faith, then, is more than religion; it is more than just being a Catholic or Presbyterian or any other denomination. The Church is us coming together manifesting that love of God in our daily life in the very example of Jesus who died for all of us, Catholic, Presbyterian and many others alike. That’s what faith is, God loving us, and us loving him in return through our brothers and sisters.

And this is what Jan shown in her life: her love for her parents, her overwhelming support for her children, and her dedication to her husband, Gerry. All the things that she did were for them, mostly little things, but they manifest that great devotion that she had for them. With all the sacrifices that she had for the people that she loved, we can say then that she truly exemplifies Jesus in her life. She has shown the face of Christ to others by the love and devotion she gave to her loved ones. And this my dear brothers and sisters, is the best preparation we can do to meet Christ our Lord. Just as our Gospel today tells us, there is no other better way to be prepared and vigilant in facing our Lord than knowing that the people whom we love and cherished can say to us, “I can see Christ in you.”  And so my dear brothers and sisters, let us learn from the example of Jan in our life. Let us live our life for the people that we love and cherished. Let us learn to show the face of Christ to the world and proclaim that Christ is still relevant in the world through the good things that we do for others. As we pray for the eternal repose of Jan, let us ask her to pray for us as well, so too, we can join her and the angels in the company of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.

Funeral Homily 4

Posted: May 19, 2013 in funeral homilies

Funeral Homily 4

Blessed…. Happy…. These are the words that we have proclaimed in our gospel for today. ImageThese also are the words that we can best describe Lucy and her life here on earth. She lived a full, happy and blessed life. Most of you if not all of you can testify on how she lived her life to the fullest for God and for the people she loved, her friends and family. She was a very devout woman who loved God more than anything. She was a loving wife, a devoted mother, a caring grandma, a dedicated friend and a jolly acquaintance for all of us here. She had brought happiness to us, the people who came to know her, the people that she loved and met.

It is for this reason that we are celebrating her happy memory here at Heritage Place. She loved and enjoyed it here because of the best of all reasons: at last, she didn’t have to cook anymore and she could play Bingo and Blackjack more often. Wouldn’t you love that too? Fran, one of her daughters, shared to me one of Lucy’s frequent dreams. She used to tell her, “you know Fran, I dreamt once again last night and I dreamt I was having a baby yet again and it felt so real.” She told me that this dream of having a baby used to make Lucy happy and vibrant. This shows us how important to Lucy the gift and privilege of being a mother. A mother as we know is the one who takes care of her children and family, making sure that everyone is taken cared of. That’s who Lucy was, a mother. She took care of people –  her husband, her children, her in-laws and grandchildren. The people who knew her could testify to her motherly affection. Her motherly instinct made her loved and served people, not only her immediate family and friends but also most of the people she met. Lucy used to be an ambassador here at Heritage Place. Fran told me that she used to be a shy lady but when she came over here, she blossomed to be a gregarious lady always ready to give everyone a smile and warm greetings. It was here that she became truly herself, a woman who witnessed her faith in God by her example, a woman who loved to serve others. Her motherly affection and faith made her rise above her timid and reserved self so that she could extend herself in service to others. Indeed, she manifested her faith through her loving relationship with others. It was in serving and taking people that she loved and met where she blossomed and shined forth in her life.

Our gospel for today tells us about the Beatitudes, how it is to be blessed in our life. We can notice that Jesus raised up the dignity of those who are poor of heart, those who are mourning, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the meek and peacemakers. These are both the people who depend on the goodness of God and others and also the people who think of the good of others and God. From the abundance of their hearts and their dependence on God, they speak and live out the beatitudes. We too are being asked to give ourselves in service to others but at the same time to depend on God’s providence not just our own. This is what Lucy did in her life. This is also what we need to do in our lives. Indeed, Lucy had finished the race, she had fought a good fight and she had kept her faith. It is time for us to bid her farewell and say thank you. For a wonderful lady, we pray for her what proverbs 31 say in her memorial card,

“A virtuous woman is far more precious than jewels.

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

Her children rise up and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praises her:

Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.

Give her of the fruit of her hands and let her works praise her in the gates.”

Amen.

Funeral Homily 3

Posted: May 19, 2013 in funeral homilies

Funeral Homily 3

When I was reflecting on what to share to you today, I asked myself these questions: whatImage makes Marilyn close to Jesus? What particular quality did she have that makes us remember Jesus or probably at times even make us cry out, “Jesus Christ!” This is seeing the world and the people around her through a rose colored glasses. She always sees the goodness in everyone. She gives everyone the benefit of a doubt and almost always positive about what’s happening around her and the world. Certainly, this is the case of Jesus Christ in our gospel for today. During his time, the world is not perfect; injustice, corruption and poverty are rooted in the society. Most people are indifferent, mediocre, and unsympathetic to all these evils in the society.  But he was able to say beyond all these, “Blessed are they… Happy are they…. Yes, Jesus, in a way, also see the world and the people around him with rose-colored glasses. By his words and actions, he gave hope to those who are hopeless, he inspired those who are depressed, he encouraged those who are light hearted, he spiritually enriched those who are poor and he lift up those who are lowly. Notwithstanding the situation of all these people, he still believed in them, he still has confidence in them.

Marilyn, just like Jesus, still believes and has confidence in people around her unless they prove themselves otherwise. If that happened, heaven and earth would not pass away until they received a spanking from her, right? Michael and Carolyn, her two loving children, even wondered how could she do it – to see the good in everyone? In Jesus’ case, there is no wonder there because he is God. He needs to be so or otherwise, he is not who we believe he is, our Savior and Lord. For Marilyn, what makes her that way? My answer is that, she is a loving person. For most of us here, she was a great mom and grandmother, a fun friend and acquaintance. In Carolyn’s words, she was a “supermom.” Rightly so, because she took care of people around here especially her family and loved ones. She didn’t have the big “S” sign in her chest to show the world that she was indeed a supermom or super friend to most of you here, but she did have a big HEART that takes care of people, that believes and has confidence in people. That is more than enough to make us say, just like Jesus, “Blessed is she who loves and takes care of people, she will be remembered well”; Blessed is she who has confidence in God’s creatures, she will received God’s confidence; Blessed is she who gives her life for her family and loved ones for she will received eternal life in heaven.”

Indeed, Marilyn has finished the race, she has fought a good fight and she has kept her faith. As we know bid farewell to Marilyn today, let us also learn from the example and life that she lived here on earth. Just like Marilyn, let us be witnesses of God’s love and affection to all the people around us especially our loved ones. Let us share that love, that hope and that encouragement to them and all the people that we meet so that in the end, when our time has come too to join Marilyn in the life to come, we may belong to what Jesus has called, “the Blessed ones ”.  Amen

Funeral Homily 2

Posted: May 19, 2013 in funeral homilies

Funeral Homily 2

There was once a married missionary translating a Bible in Papau New Guinea who cannot find Imagethe proper expression in the local language of the word “hope.” He sought for a long time for the word’s equivalent but was not successful.  One day, his wife died. While burying her, a local boy was watching him. The boy asked him, “Why are you not crying?” To which the man replied, “Why should I? We will be seeing each other again.” The thoughtful boy then said to him, “That proves to me of what I heard about you Christians. You are a people who look beyond the horizon.” Right then, the missionary realized what hope is. It is looking beyond the horizon.

My dear friends, we are all gathered here today as one family to pray for the eternal repose of John, a great father, grandfather, uncle, in-law and friend to us. It hurts to see him leaving. Losing him adds to the pain of the loss of Lucy, his wife, your mom, your grandma, your aunt, your friend just a few months ago. Indeed, their passing weight heavily upon our hearts. Our soul is black with grief thinking that they are now gone before us. But this doesn’t mean that we don’t believe that we will see them again. We are a people of hope. We are a people who look beyond the horizon. And in that horizon, stands a couple smiling at us, John and Lucy, telling us, “We will see each other again.”

And so, we can say with the first reading, “I will call this to mind, as my reason to have hope: the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent…so great is his faithfulness.” My dear brothers and sisters, the goodness of the Lord is the reason for us to hope in him amidst the pain, the grief and the sorrow that we feel today. For if the Lord has not been good to us in this time of loss, we should have been lost in the dark, full of anger, full of resentment. But God has been compassionate to us. He has given us the necessary strength and courage to face our ordeal and mourning. He has been merciful.

C.S. Lewis, a noted writer, in his book Grief Observed, reflected on his experience of sorrow when his wife died. He experienced a loss of faith and a deep-seated anger for God in his grief. He asked, “Where is God? Go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is in vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face.” However, as he reflected more deeply about his experience, he discovered that “sorrow is not a state but a process.” In this process, he found out that grieving is like traveling in a long, winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally different landscape. His grief finally led him to a landscape of an essential discovery: faithfulness. It was the faithfulness, however, not of himself but the faithfulness of God.

Indeed, our Lord is faithful. His cross bears witness to his faithfulness and love to all of us. Jesus wants to be with us in our grief. He wants to take upon himself the sorrow that we feel right now. Out of his love for us, he offered himself for us to save us and reconcile us to him. With his sacrifice, he opened up for us the gates of heaven. He transformed death into a door of a new beginning: eternity. This is our hope. This is our consolation.

We can understand more what Jesus did for us by knowing how John lived his life here on earth. One of the stories about him that stuck into my mind was when he lost his job in the 50’s because of his colon cancer. To earn money, he tried to sell bibles. But his earnings were not enough; so he went to fish everyday so that he could provide something to eat for his family. He did everything he could so that his loved ones would not go hungry. This, I believe, exemplifies for us what Jesus did for us. Just as Jesus sacrificed himself for us so that we might have eternal life, John did everything for his family so that they might live a good, happy and well-provided life. Notwithstanding his limitations and weaknesses, he tried his best to make his loved ones know that he loved them very much.

Another testimony of John’s sacrifice and dedication was his military service. He was a marine. He was a patriot. He fought for his country during the Second World War. One of the battles he went to was the Battle of Imo Jima, which is immortalized by the photo of six marines raising the flag at Mt. Suribachi. This photo testifies not only to the victory that the US had against Japan but this photo also immortalized the sacrifices and heroism of the people who fought there. These are the people who gave up their lives and put their lives in danger so that we can enjoy peace. It was because of their sacrifices and heroism that we can enjoy our freedom as a country. John was one of them. He was one with those heroes who raised the flag for us so that we can be proud of our country’s ideals.

With all his sacrifices and dedication to his family and country, we can say, “blessed is he who loved his family, he will be well remembered.” “Blessed is he who served his country, he will be greatly appreciated.” “Blessed is he who did everything for the good of his loved ones and countrymen, he will be rewarded.” Blessed is he who believed, he will be accepted in heaven.”

It is said that “All of life is a dream walking, all of death is a going home.” Though it is sad to see that John has gone before us, there is still reason for us to give thanks because he has gone home now to his Creator. He has also now joined his beloved wife, Lucy. He has lived his life and he has lived it fully. And so, let us pray for the eternal repose of his soul. And as we pray for him, let us also ask for his prayers that when our time comes, we can come to join him and Lucy in the place promised by God to all of us who believed. Amen.

Funeral Homily 1

Posted: May 19, 2013 in funeral homilies

Funeral Homily 1

Have you ever had an opportunity to shake hands with Don? It was pretty unforgettable right?Image I remember my first time meeting him at Heritage Place my first week here at Bandon. He shook my hands and said, Welcome Father! I’m really glad you are here. It was indeed a warm welcome coming from Don; I could still feel that warmness in my hands even after an hour. Yes, many of us if not most of us experienced that distinguishable handshake of Don, strong and firm. But that was not the only thing that Don was strong and firm at in his life.  He was strong and firm in his faith. He showed us in his lifetime how to be a believer. I had a privilege to celebrate with him the sacraments of reconciliation and anointing the sick the day before he passed away. I can say from my personal experience that I was talking to a holy man, a man who loved God, a man who is led by the spirit of God. Dan, Don’s eldest Son, shared to me a story about his father when he was young.  He said that he once passed by his parents’ room and saw their door slightly opened. He peaked inside, not to look for trouble but to look for his parents and there ha saw his father alone, kneeling by the bed, praying. This image of his father affected him and remained with him through out these years. This testifies to us how deep Don’s love for the Lord. How his life revolved around God.

However, his strong faith in God does not stay with him alone, it is manifested in his relationships with other people especially his relationship with his family and friends. He was a gentle man, a loving father, grandfather, uncle, and friend. Notwithstanding his limitations, he did his best to show and manifest his love to the people close to his heart. And he did this with joy, full of optimism and life. How can we ever forget his beaming smile and happy character?

Indeed, Don is a strong believer and a happy one too. His faith gave him life.  Just as Jesus said in our gospel for today, “I am the Resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live,” Don would surely live not only in our hearts here on earth but more so in the company of Jesus is heaven. He has conquered death by living his life in Jesus here on earth.

So my dear brothers and sisters, let us then follow the example of Don in living our faith and in living our life here on earth. By conforming himself to Jesus, he has joined Jesus in heaven, seeing him face to face. We will surely join him in the company of Jesus when our time comes but we are being asked first to live a life of resurrection here on earth. Indeed, God will bring us to heaven when we die, but only if we take hold of heaven while we live! That is the whole purpose of our life. We are to receive Christ’s life by faith, by prayer and by living Christ’s teachings. This is the surest way that eternal life will be ours with Jesus.

And so what Christ’s asked of Martha in the gospel, he asks of us today. “Do you believe this?” We respond with her today, “Yes, I believe.” He asked Don this question, and he has responded. “Yes, I believed!” We now pray for Don that this faith leads him to the full glory of heaven and we, too, asks Don to pray for us. Surely, his reply with his beaming smile, “you bet ya, I will.”

ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO HIM O, LORD. AMEN.