Fr. Richard's Homily, July 8, 2017
Laura Cortez Funeral
The Hope of Life Eternal with the Lord
As Christians the greatest change that ever happens in our life is at baptism, where we are granted the gift of God’s own divine life. It is a point of division. Before baptism we are natural children of God, but after baptism we become His adopted children of who share in His own divine nature, and that is a genuinely radical change. After that, the next greatest change in our life is when we die. That is also a point of division. Death divides spirit from flesh. It divides this life which we know so well from life that we have yet to experience. Death divides us from family and friends. Because of all these effects, because the division of death is so basic and so profound, it can stir up a great deal of unpleasant emotions within us when we face the reality of the end of life in this world: grief, sorrow, fear, anxiety, regret, doubt, guilt, anger, loneliness. These are reminders that life in this world always carries with it a great deal of suffering. And we’re also reminded that we ourselves will one day cross that line of division. We too will have to depart from this life. For so many people today, the reality of death is something they’d like to avoid at any cost, as much as they possibly can. No funeral, no service, nothing public to mark the death of their loved one. Better not to speak of death, because there is nothing there we want to see, nothing there we want to take part in. But for us, as Christians, there is so much more than just division and loss. We also know and believe in something much greater than that, and we hold to a virtue that can be more powerful than all the negative emotions that accompany death. We have hope. And our hope is placed in nothing less than the saving power of Jesus Christ, and his love for those who have followed him in this world. As sad as we may be today or tomorrow, we can have hope in the Lord Who conquered the power of sin and death because He Himself suffered and died. He has experienced death, and He came back from death to offer us life, and so that we can live in the hope of his promise. Hope that on the last day, body and soul will be reunited. Hope that the goodness of life we may experience in this world will be magnified beyond our imagination in the life that is yet to come. Hope that we will be judged worthy to stand in the presence of the Lord. Hope that we will be united once again with all those who have died before us. To share in this hope, to live in faith in Jesus Christ is not to deny the reality of death, nor the sorrow that comes with it. But it is also so much more than that. It’s a call to live in His victory over the power of death so that we can live our lives according to His truth, with genuine love for one another. That is the power of our hope in Jesus Christ. Our hope in Him is the power that we have over death. We pray today, and we will be praying that the Lord receives Laura into His heavenly kingdom, and into the peace of everlasting life with Him. And let us also pray for ourselves and for one another, that we may live our own lives in the hope that we share in Jesus, in the hope that Laura deeply shared in Jesus, and in the hope of life eternal with the Lord.