Robert Broomhall, 1922-2007
“We are not like those who think he simply is not, finished, reduced to nothing. We say ‘fare well’ because we know he is well and will be well.”
I always enjoyed the company of Bob. He was a regular reader at the Sunday Mass here at St Joseph’s and he read well. He was direct and warm hearted and approachable, so that I felt drawn to him. All of us have our special memories of him; for me Bob will always be linked to the Word of God.
We have come to give thanks for him. We bid him ‘fare well’. Indeed, we bid him, ‘fare very well and be full well’, for all will be well for him. We are not like those who think he simply is not, finished, reduced to nothing. We say ‘fare well’ because we know he is and will be.
We have come here to bless him and we say, like in the first reading, “May the Lord bless you, Bob, and take care of you,” for we place him in the hands of the One who alone can help him now. We say, “May the Lord be kind and gracious to you” as Bob was kind and gracious to us. We say, “May the Lord look on you with favour and give peace”, a lasting peace that nothing can take away, for Bob knew both war and peace. He feared the bombs that killed his mates in Darwin harbour. He also promoted peace by being involved in merchant banking with the Japanese after the war. He fought the good fight, that fight which above all is worth winning, to keep the faith: faithful to his family, faithful to his country, faithful to his God who will be faithful to him in return.
Bob, the reader of the Word at Mass, knew well the power of words, for during the War whole armies shifted across the globe at the command of their generals. He also knew the power of words in merchant banking where telegraphic transfers shift fabulous sums of money from one account to another. Above all he knew the power of the sacred Word. It was by this same Word that God said “Let there be light”, ‘let there be sun and moon’, ‘let there be plants and animals and humans’. It is our Christian conviction that this same powerful Word will call out to Bob, saying ‘Arise, come forth into the light which does not waver’. If someone asks you how the dead can possibly be raised to life, tell them it is by the power of the Word who commands all things into being, the loving Word who calls the loving into resurrection, Jesus the Just Judge who calls the just to himself.
Bob was a just man. He found places for migrants who came to Australia hoping for a secure and happy life. May he find us a place when our time comes to go. It was good that he walked the face of the earth and flew around the world, to the USA, to the UK, to Egypt and elsewhere. He has gone to a more secret place now. It is as though he is quoting the words of Jesus in the Gospel, “I am going to prepare you a place and after I have gone I will return to take you with me so that where I am you may be too”. His family looked after his welfare during his illness. He will return the favour and look after them when they too succumb to human mortality. May the Word of love now come to Bob and fill his heart to bursting point, giving him that joy which this world cannot contain.
Fr John Dupuche PP