Thursday, June 20, 2013

that we might live and love forever with him...

Patricia "Annie" Scheer, mother of Phil Scheer, one of our seminarians for the Archdiocese of Boston, died suddenly last week of a heart attack.  I was privileged to join his family for the Funeral outside of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania along with two of his seminarian brothers, Kevin Leaver and Will Sexton.  Here's is the homily I preached at the Funeral Mass at Good Shepherd Church.

Dear Peter and Phil, Joseph and Evelyn, and Joanne and Pam,

I wish you peace.  I wish you peace, because, despite all appearances, this is not the end.  The love which your beloved Annie shared with you, Peter, does not end.  The love your mom showered on you, Phil, does not end.  Like the beauty of the paintings which Annie so wondrously crafted, love does not end.

Love does not end because no darkness, no sin, not even death can defeat it.  “Faith, hope, and love,” Saint Paul reminds us, last forever, and the greatest of these is love.

That is because perfect love, the kind of love which gives his life upon the wood of the cross for us, the kind of love which forgives them as they drive the nails into his wrists, the kind of love which is perfect sacrifice given not because we deserve it, but because he loves us...that love rises from the dead and awaits Annie in a place beyond the grave.

It is into the arms of such a love, such a Lord, that we comemnd our sister today.  Just as Joseph and Evelyn carried their little baby into Church sixty years ago and heard the words “if we live with the Lord, we shall die with the Lord,” so we who loved here gather to offer the perfect sacrifice of the Cross, the Mass, begging God to forgive whatever sins she may have comitted and lead her home to a place of perfect refreshment, light and peace.

There were many gifts which Annie gave to each of you in this life, as I know she touched my life and the life of each of our seminarians through the gifts she gave to Phil.  But today she gives each of us the most precious gift, for today she reminds each one of us of the journey we’re on.  It starts in the arms of our parents…it starts at the font of blessed water where we are first joined to Christ and to his cross.  And then it takes all kinds of twists and turns, sometimes bringing us closer to God and sometimes leading us away from him.

But today Annie reminds us where that journey ends.  It ends in the same place it began: before Christ, who will judge each one of us on the last day.  Christ, who calls us to turn away from selfishness and sin, and cling to faithful love.  Christ, who urges us to forgive, even as we ask to be forgiven.  Christ, who laid down his life for the world, and asks us to do the same.  Christ, who loved us faithfully and then commanded: love others as he had loved us.

For the greatest memorial to Annie Scheer will not be the finest monument in Saint John’s Cemetery.  It will not even be the wonderful stories you will tell of her compassion, her art, her virtue, and her love for life.  No, the greatest memorial to Annie, will be the lives of faithful love which you will live in in the years God still gives you to reflect his love and his glory upon this earth, that we might live and love forever with him in the Kingdom of Heaven.