Yesterday, the Seminary I work at offered the community Mass as a memorial Mass for the repose of my father’s soul. My mom, wife and oldest son attended (our other children were unable to come).
Surrounded by the prayer, song and kindness of seminarians, priest faculty, colleagues and friends, it was an experience of the church as family that is beyond my power to adequately describe. For my 91 year old mother, it was, as she said after, “like being in heaven.” Yes, that’s it. “On earth as it is in heaven,” with heaven being anywhere God’s will is done.
God’s will? John 17:21-23:
That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
For me, yesterday demonstrated how, when the church consistently lives the unity of love found in the Eucharist outside its liturgical celebration, the Mass itself becomes more readily transparent as the time “when things of heaven are wed to those of earth, and divine to the human.” When we live the unity of love outside the Mass, St. Irenaeus’ words back in 180 A.D. are confirmed, “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.”
For all the prayers, Masses offered, cards, emails, texts, comments, calls, flowers, visits, I, my wife and children, my mom, my step mom and siblings are exceedingly grateful. And for my dad, above all, may all of these acts of faith, hope and love speed him into the fullness of the new creation, where God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
I will end with the setting of Psalm 23 that was sung at yesterday’s Mass.
The Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing.
He shall feed me in a green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
He shall convert my soul, and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.
Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me;
thou hast anointed my head with oil, and my cu shall be full.
But thy loving kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen