Q: I believe that our Catholic funeral liturgy is a most powerful expression of faith in Christ’s resurrection and our own. Do you agree?
A: Yes, our funeral rites are a most clear proclamation of Easter faith, so I offer you my 2017 Easter Sunday homily for the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls:
“At every funeral Mass here, I am moved by this sentence from the final commendation: ‘One day we shall joyfully greet her again when the love of Christ, which conquers all things, destroys even death itself.’ There’s no clearer expression of what our faith proclaims this Easter Day. For Easter Day points to the final day, when God will do for us what God did for Jesus in his resurrection.
“The love of Christ: the love that was seen in his coming to live our human life in the incarnation and to die our human death in the crucifixion, the love that became eternal in his resurrection.
“The love of Christ: the love more powerful than the narrow-mindedness and hard-heartedness of those who unjustly put him to death.
“The love of Christ: the love that empowers us to rid ourselves of the old yeast of malice and wickedness, whatever its forms in our lives, so that we can celebrate new life with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
“The love of Christ: the love that is victorious over everything that can separate us from God and each other.
“Hopefully our Lenten prayer, penance and works of charity have revealed more of the love of Christ to us. Hopefully our celebration of the Paschal Triduum has opened us more deeply to the love of Christ.
“Easter is this love of Christ proclaimed in capital letters, on a billboard as wide as this world, in sky-writing across the universe, so that no one might miss it. This is the love that triumphs over evil and sin, the love that prevents death from having the final victory over Jesus and over all who sing ‘Alleluia!’ this day. Nothing can separate us from this love of Christ, the love that casts out paralyzing fear and crushing sorrow from human hearts, so that surpassing joy can take their place.”
A blessed and happy Easter to all of you!
Benedictine Father Michael Kwatera, a monk of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, serves as the abbey’s director of liturgy. Please send your questions on liturgy to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at St. John’s Abbey, P.O. Box 2015, Collegeville, MN 56321-2015.