Yesterday we witnessed the funeral of Queen Elizabeth the second.
It was a solemn and great tribute to her.
The first full funeral that I ever attended was that of my young brother John when I was thirteen. He was four.
I remember it so very well. I was his big brother. That was 1965, I still visit his grave and remember, talk to him and though I’m sure of where he is, I still grieve.
Since then I had attended the funerals of family members before I was ordained. Then I started celebrating family funerals myself as a priest.
This included my parents and my other brother, Tony, five years ago.
It also included other close relatives and friends.
Of course, as a priest, I have celebrated countless funerals over forty-five years.
They have all been sacred moments and I feel privileged to have been part of them.
They are all celebrations of love:
God’s unconditional love for the person who has died as well as for all of us.
And entrusting the one who has died into the communion of saints.
A way of supporting and comforting each other in grief.
A chance to celebrate and give thanks for the bond of love with the person and each other.
In our Catholic rite of passage for the deceased, we celebrate great hope.
In Jesus, God shared our pain, death and grief. God understands and walks with us.
We also share in the resurrection of Jesus with the promise of everlasting life.
Yes we grieve, we cry, but we are full of hope knowing that nothing can come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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