Homily at the Funeral Mass
27 October, 2000
St Joseph’s, Black Rock
Every time Sheila went to see Annie at the assisted accommodation home, Annie would say, ‘Take me home’. How that must have torn at Sheila’s heart who would have liked nothing better than to take her sister home. Today we celebrate Annie’s home-coming. She wanted to go where she belonged, to the place of affection and company, a gracious lady in a gracious house. Now, we believe, she is in God’s hands in whom she placed her trust.
At the end of Mass, Christine will give a brief eulogy on Annie’s long life. My task is to show how her life was good news, a Gospel to us.
Jesus, in the text just read from the Gospel of John, has told his disciples that he must leave them. They are troubled at what seems bad news. They will lose their Master and friend in whose company they found joy and hope. They are afraid and confused. How could such a good person as Jesus die and how could he be made to died so cruelly? Those thoughts go through our minds too as we are faced with the death of our beloved Annie and face our own death.
Jesus says to us as he says to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. I am going now to prepare a place for you.” Annie has gone to her true homeland, for we are all just passers-by, pilgrims on the face of the earth who come today and are gone tomorrow. Our destiny is not confined to the story of our days, for we have a heart greater than the universe, and our minds occasionally touch eternity. Our homeland is with the Love who stand as at the beginning of time and will receive us at the end. We are confiding Annie to that Love by our ceremony today. Time has failed her but Love will not let her down. She is returning to the One who made her and she is herself preparing a place for us. We say to her as she said to her sister, ‘Take us home’ to where we belong, to that great house of many rooms, that wide heart which has place for all, saint and sinner alike, young and old, the silly and the sensible, the hall of the great banquet.
Annie has prepared a place for us. She devoutly attended Mass here, not only on Sundays but often during the week. She was well known to many people in the Parish and it is fitting that her Funeral Mass should occur at the time and in the place where she often came. She was a great supporter of the Parish and looked after the needs of the Mass. She belonged to a large and devout family and had a strong influence on many people, some of whom are here today. Her life set the pattern for her eternity. Annie was a gracious lady, devout and affectionate, welcoming the stranger and the orphan. The good done in time determines the colour of our eternity. As she has done good to others, so good will be done to her. Grace upon grace will come to her, she will see her God face to face, she will be welcomed with affection by the Father of us all. This ceremony is her homecoming.