In the face of death, before the stinking grave of his friend Lazarus, Jesus wept. And so they said, see how much he loved him.
We weep, because we love James Eugene Moroney, Jim, Jimmy, as a husband, a father, and the best man I ever knew. He is the one who taught me what it means to be called father, who taught my sister what it meant to have a dad, and who for sixty six years has been bound in the sacrament of Christ’s love with his beloved Peggy.
He was and is, for me, the essence of what it means to be good, to be steady, strong, and filled with courage. He was the one of whom the the Lord spoke, “The good man who out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good.” (Luke 6:45)
But he is also the first of those who would say that this day is not about him. Rather, it is about the God who loved him. Loved him so much that he joined him to himself in the the waters of Baptism, anointed him with the oil of salvation, and nourished him with the bread of those who will never really die.
The God who day by day and year by year, revealed himself to him, taught him to love, to forgive and to live in the model of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
The God who led James and Marguerite down the aisle of Saint Stephen’s Church and who heard them promise before his altar to remain faithful to one another and to God: a promise they lived together for sixty-six years. And from that faithfulness, God brought forth Debbie and me, as a concrete sign of the willingness of James and Marguerite to cling to faithful love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until death.
In fact, on the day they were married, James and Marguerite knelt before the altar as Father Ahern, extending his hands over them, blessed them with a quotation from Psalm 128:videas filios filiorum tuorum: May you live to see your children’s children. And so faithful was God’s love for then that they lived to know and to love Daniel and Meghan.
God so loved Jimmy that he surrounded him with the love of wife and children and grandchildren. He so loved him that he has now taken him to himself, to the place he has prepared for each of us.
And so it is into the hands of God, this day, that we commend his immortal soul. We ask angels to lead him into paradise. We ask martyrs to come to welcome him. And most of all, we ask God to look upon him with mercy, to forgive whatever sins he may have committed, to lead him home to a place of perfect refreshment, light, and peace.
That same heaven for which our aching hearts long...that paradise, where we pray that one day he will run out to meet us and we will be together with Christ, with perfect love, forever singing the praise of God in the presence of the angels.
Lord, Jesus who was born as man that we might know that hope, make that Advent to come without delay!