‘If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his spirit living in you.’ Romans 8:11
Yesterday I attended a funeral, the second this week, two days in a row. It was the funeral of Br Ted Merritt MSC. He was 92 years old, very active till about two weeks ago. We thought he would easily make a hundred. Before I went to the funeral, one of our Priests was called to attend to a dying baby being held by his loving mother in our local hospital. The mystery of death! It can be so baffling!
Br Ted was very much loved; he led an exemplary life committed to help the poor and those on the ‘outer’. Only a few weeks ago he came to see me so that we could help a homeless man find accommodation. It is so important that we celebrate Br Ted’s life and the great witness that he gave to the message of Christ. It is also very important that we celebrate the life of this little baby boy as well.
Life is so precious. I remember vividly the death of my 4½ year-old brother at the Children’s Hospital in Adelaide 55 years ago. I was 13 years old. It is like as if it was yesterday.
When we celebrate the goodness of a person, any person, including the great Saints, we are not saying that they were perfect. We celebrate what God can do in weak human nature and how the grace of God helps us to overcome our weaknesses. As the opening scripture reading states, the power of God which brought Jesus back to life in the resurrection is active in us.
We can at times tend to focus on past mistakes, past sins, and put ourselves down. This can be deenergising and stop us from reaching our potential! It is so important that the God who brought Jesus back to life is allowed to be active in us.
God promised to turn to good everything for those who love God. Of course, we need to cooperate with that grace. It is not about doing nothing and expecting God to do everything. We acknowledge our mistakes, our weakness and open our hearts to new life.
I am sure that Br Ted is hearing these words: ‘Come good and faithful servant, my Son, and welcome into my joy!’
I hope and trust that we will hear these words one day!
God Bless you today.
+Bishop Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin