Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended.
Preface for Christian Death
I wake up early, open my computer but go no further. The view through the window has taken hold of my attention. It’s not yet 7 a.m. but it is still dark. The rain shimmers as it passes between me and the streetlights. I walk to the window for a better look. When did all these leaves fall? I open the window. It is warmer than I expected. It is as if I am standing on the cusp of summer and fall.
The church is also on the cusp of two seasons: ordinary time (the end of the current liturgical year) and advent (the beginning of a new year). Today is the first of 3 Sundays which precede this transition - The Solemnity of Christ the King.
The gospel for Christ the King reminds me of this dark morning. Jesus hangs on the cross and and is taunted by the authorities as well as a criminal hanging next to him. They see him as just another dying leaf hanging from a tree limb - ready to fall and be swept away.
Those with eyes of faith see something different.
I am the true vine and my Father is the vine-grower. (John 15:1)
During November the church directs our attention to those who have lived, died and returned to the vine-grower.
Among these are the saints whose names are known by many like Saint Luke, the recorder of today’s gospel and the newly canonized Saint John Henry Newman.
There are also those whose names are less known but precious to each of us. They are our spouses, parents, grandparents, children, mentors and friends who have died. As we receive the Eucharist we are communion with them through Jesus..
During communion we will pray the Litany of the Saints (#721). The response “pray for us” in an invocation to the saints for us as well as those souls who await entrance into the fullness of God’s kingdom.
Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s and honored to be part of the funeral liturgies for your loved ones over these past years.