Tuesday, April 1, 2014
We send flowers when somebody dies. I'm guessing that way back this would have been to cover the stench. Now they add beauty and life in the presence of death. The funeral director brings many of them to the grave. For many years in my experience the mourners threw flowers onto the casket in the grave. I don't know when the custom switched to mourners' taking flowers off the casket and taking them home, but it is well established now.
As we reflect on Jesus' raising Lazarus from the tomb (John 11:1-44) we can be thankful for our faith in the afterlife. At the end of the Apostles' Creed we say we believe in "life everlasting." In this Gospel Jesus says, "I AM the Resurrection and the Life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live...." In the preface for the funeral Mass we pray, "Life is changed not ended."
I try to imagine what it must feel like not to have this faith in Jesus that carries us into another kind of life. I can't. Life beyond death is so much a part of my world view that my imagination can't settle for a blank. My Irish awareness of the other world woven into and through this world enriches my Christian faith. The closeness I feel to family and friends who have died is who I am.