Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
“Come, you whom my Father has blessed”
Today, as we gather to celebrate the life of our departed brother/sister, we are reminded of the powerful words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. In this passage, Jesus speaks to us about the final judgment, where He separates the sheep from the goats, the righteous from the wicked.
Jesus tells us that when He comes in His glory, He will sit on His glorious throne, and all the nations will be gathered before Him. He will separate people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. To those on His right, He will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”.
But what is the criterion for this judgment? Jesus makes it clear that it is our acts of mercy and compassion towards others that will determine our fate. He says, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me”.
These words of Jesus remind us of the importance of charity and almsgiving in our lives. The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches us that God will praise and welcome into His heavenly kingdom those who have exercised mercy towards the poor. Our faith in Jesus finds its final expression in our acts of charity, as we see Christ in every person we encounter.
As we reflect on the life of our departed brother/sister, let us remember the ways in which they lived out this Gospel message. Let us recall the times they reached out to those in need, the times they showed kindness and compassion, and the times they selflessly gave of themselves to help others. These acts of love and mercy are a testament to their faith and their desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ.
In the Mass for the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis reminds us that we are called to make charity bear fruit in our lives and to draw near to the poor, for in doing so, we welcome Christ Himself. Our departed brother/sister understood this call and lived it out in their daily life.
Today, as we bid farewell to our beloved brother/sister, let us take comfort in the words of Jesus. Let us trust in His mercy and love, knowing that He sees and remembers every act of kindness and compassion that our departed brother/sister performed. May we be inspired by their example to continue to live lives of charity and love, so that when our own time comes, we too may hear those beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your master”.
May our departed brother/sister rest in the eternal peace and joy of God’s heavenly kingdom, and may we, who remain, continue to strive to live out the Gospel message of love and mercy in our own lives.