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Funeral Homily

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  • David Moser
    The servant of God NN has finished his earthly journey and now his body lies before us as he enters the life after death. In Christ we are all united to one
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11, 2004
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      The servant of God NN has finished his earthly journey and now his body lies
      before us as he enters the life after death. In Christ we are all united to
      one another and so just as we did pray for him during his life in the world,
      so now we pray for him in the life after death.

      We know that this life in the world is but a preparation for life in
      eternity. The life beyond this world is incomprehensible to us and yet God
      in His mercy has given us a multitude of images, both in the teaching of the
      Church and in the world around us, which instruct us in the life after
      death. One of those images, with us from the dawn of time is that of the
      life of the butterfly. The butterfly begins life as a caterpillar; a
      creature who crawls on the earth and whose only purpose is to gather the
      resources for the next stage of his life. This he does by eating constantly,
      consuming all the plant material that lies in his path.

      At the end of his existence as a caterpillar, this little creature wraps
      himself in a chrysalis, a shell, in which he appears to be lifeless. But in
      reality, within the chrysalis a great mystery is occurring. The creature
      that was once a caterpillar is being changed, he is being transformed into
      something new, something different. Leaving behind all his former life, the
      caterpillar takes with him all that which he has become in his larval stage
      into the chrysalis and there, while he is seemingly lifeless, a change is
      wrought using all his resources. When this change is complete, the chrysalis
      opens and the creature emerges, no longer a caterpillar bound to the
      branches and leaves of a tree, but a butterfly, beautiful and delicate that
      flies from branch to branch through the air. The butterfly is a creature
      significantly different from a caterpillar, and yet they are the same

      So it is with us. We are given this worldly life to live as "caterpillars",
      gathering our resources and preparing for the next life. At the end of our
      worldly life, we leave this world and this life behind to enter into the
      chrysalis of the tomb bringing with us only that which is of enduring
      spiritual value. There, wrapped in the shell of seeming lifelessness, a
      change is wrought, using up all that we gathered in this life. From the
      chrysalis of the tomb, at the end of the age we are resurrected and emerge
      from the tomb a new creature, born of that which we gathered in this life
      and brought with us into the tomb.

      This passing into the tomb is a mystery of great depth, which no man can
      see. The process is hidden from us and we have only been given a dim hint
      here and there of what actually happens, for it is beyond our understanding.
      However, because we are bound together in Christ, Who has defeated death, we
      can contribute to this process. We help our departed brother by our prayers
      for the rest and salvation of his soul. In these prayers we beseech God that
      He might never forget the one who has departed from us and that He might
      continue to show compassion and mercy, bestowing His abundant grace upon the
      one who has departed into the next life. We aid our departed brother also by
      alms given on his behalf in this world, continuing by our efforts the works
      of mercy and love that he began while yet alive so that these works do not
      die, but continue to bear fruit in his soul even after his repose. Finally
      we aid our departed brother by bringing his body for Christian burial,
      committing the part of him that remains in this world to the safe keeping of
      the earth, that it too might be cleansed of corruption and shed the garments
      of skin preparing for the day of the resurrection when the body will be
      reunited with the soul and the renewed man shall arise from the grave,
      clothed no longer in the garments of corruption, but clad now with the glory
      of God.

      The newly departed servant of God NN having finished the course of his life
      on this earth now enters the chrysalis of the grave that he might there,
      under the cover of death be transformed into the image and likeness of
      Christ with which he will rise on the last day.
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