A man at my parish was buried today.
He was pretty much of a loner, from what I could tell. I tried talking to him a few times… and I know my husband did too… but he just wasn’t much for talking.
He sat in the back pew for every Mass… received the Eucharist reverently… and then would go on his way, not wanting to make much contact with others. But he was known, he was greeted every Sunday, and his death was noticed.
His funeral was at our chapel at lunchtime today. As I left the church office, I saw the parish staff going over to the chapel to attend his funeral.
I saw the dedicated “daily Mass” folks there, sweeping the front steps, lining the sidewalk to carry in his coffin, and filing in to attend the Mass… I saw our Music Director going over there, ready to sing at his funeral…
…not because they were necessarily his best friends
…not because he had allowed any of them to get close to him
but because that is what we are called to do.
Burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy, and it brought such tears to my eyes to see these people offering their time, their talents, and their lunch hours to pay respect to a man who, even though was not the friendliest of people, was nevertheless created in the image of God and had dignity and worth — and to pray for the repose of his soul.
I saw holiness in action today.