Funeral Mass, 28 July, 1999
Corpus Christi, Glenroy
Although Guerrina, our sister, had been ill for so long, her death, when finally it came, was a shock. It was like coming face to face all of a sudden with a brick wall. She is dead. No one will see her smile as in the past, nor will anyone converse with her as before. She will not laugh or cry as once she did. The past is gone forever. She has been rooted up from the lives of her family and friends. It seems all so final, and her passing shows how transient all things are. People are born and people die and that seems to be the end of things.
But the Christian response is to say ‘No!’. A human being is not measured by time alone. The world of time is embedded in eternity. The world comes and goes but eternity continues unchanging. God, from whom all proceeds, is the measure of all things.
He knows all and governs all. He knows Guerrina and all the good she has done, the good which her family knows and the secret good which only He knows. He knows what fruit her acts will bear in generations yet to come. He knows in a way we cannot, and his judgment is effective. He is good and recognises her goodness. He is truth and accepts her truth. He is compassionate and rejoices in her compassion. He is love and loves her love. Therefore though the world can no longer sustain her, God has not finished with her. He receives her and holds her and transforms her and makes her real in way she never knew before. All that was false in her he does not consider. He leaves aside all that does not belong to her, and frees her from every burdens of sin and sorrow she may have carried. She is glad to be rid of all that holds her down and she emerges purified and free.
As the prophet Isaiah might have said:
“He will prepare for Guerrina a banquet of rich food.
He will remove the mourning veil covering her
and the shroud enwrapping her.
She exults and she rejoices that her God has saved her.”