'By His rising from the dead, we may rise from the dead'
Michael C. Barber, SJ
On March 9 I went to UCSF hospital to visit one of our Oakland priests, Rev. Seamus Genovese, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
He was suffering from cancer for the past two years. He was weak, and had recently fallen in his rectory, leaving him severely bruised. We had a good visit, and at the end, he insisted on getting out of bed, putting on his bathrobe, and escorting me to the elevator.
He was wearing his (famous) Irish Shamrock sox. I was touched by his gesture — a priest walking with his bishop. It would be the last time we walked together on this earth.
On the following night, I was awakened at 3:15 a.m. Father Seamus had died in the hospital. I had to return his gesture. I immediately got out of bed, went to my private chapel and offered Mass for his eternal repose.
On Ash Wednesday, in the traditional formula we hear "Remember that thou are dust, and unto dust thou shalt return." True.
Whether we are buried or cremated, the result is the same. Our earthly bodies go back to the earth from which they came.
But for Christians that is NOT the last word. On the day of our baptism the priest prays "May all who are buried with Christ in the death of baptism rise also with him to newness of life."
Yes we have to die. But through His suffering and death, Christ has destroyed death. By His rising from the dead, we may rise from the dead.
True I miss Father Seamus. He always had a smile and a "refreshment" ready when I visited his rectory across Lake Merritt. I miss my mother and father who are deceased, but I am forever glad they brought me to Mission Dolores, where then-Father John Cummins baptized me. I am grateful my parents raised me in the faith.
If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, Easter is the season for you.
Go to Mass in the Easter season and hear Christ praying through the scripture readings for you and for your beloved. Let the liturgy and hymns wash over you.
For by the fact of Christ's resurrection from the dead we Christians know without a doubt that "For your faithful people life is changed, not ended." Christ is risen. Happy Easter!
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