We do death well here. As Irish people, as Dubliners, and as people of this parish. We do death well. Paddy tells me I’ve said this before. It’s true, I’m like a broken record. And for those of you that don’t know what a record is, or what a broken record sounds like, Google it!
But we do death well. And when we come to funeral Masses, you all turn up and you all sit in the same places. This is because the one who has died is one of your own. You may not be blood relatives, but you are family in a sense.
Jesus died a horrible death. I used to think modern generations didn’t know much about the barbarity of Roman crucifixion. However, we see violence all too often in our society now, and we hear of senseless and evil murders like what is played out close to our communities and like Lyra McKee in Derry the other night.
But Jesus death wasn’t in vain. All through the gospels, Jesus reminded the disciples that the Christ would have to suffer. He called them to faith in him. Death would not be the end. In the gospels he calls Martha to faith when he says “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) He tells Thomas; “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:5)
Those who witnessed the crucifixion were horrified and traumatised. All the disciples went into hiding. They played the awful scenes over and over in their minds. They talked about it and confused, they thought it was the end. Until the third day.
Early on Sunday morning, the women who were going to anoint the body saw the stone had been rolled back. They went in and they saw that Jesus wasn’t there. They saw a vision of Angels who told then that Jesus is risen. They rushed away to tell the disciples.
Peter and John rushed to the tomb and found it empty. They all began to come to faith in the risen Christ. Dark tombs and old walls can’t contain the risen Jesus. The tomb is open, the disciples see the place where Jesus was laid and they remember what Jesus said that the Christ would have to suffer, to be crucified, but on the third day rise again.
Every day I witness your simple but powerful faith here in the parish especially at times of death and bereavement. Most of the time your doors are open. You all have a ministry of welcome and hospitality. Like the stone which was rolled away from the tomb, the front door to your homes is open and you welcome people in. But you also go out to reach out to the friends and neighbours.
This is the way we fight back against the evil and violence we witness in our society and our word. We do it with love and light. We crowd it out by expelling it from the darkness of the tomb out into the light of Christ in the world. We spread the love.
Thanks to all of you who spread that love on Social Media. It is truly good news. This is how Jesus is alive in our families, our parish, our city, our country, and our world.
Lyra’s partner Sara Canning spoke of her legacy living on in the light she’s left behind.
The many Parisians singing the Hail Mary as Notre Dame burned was another example of the light of the resurrection.
And we give thanks to our parents who passed on the light of faith to us. Faith that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life.