I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
(Psalm 34:1 NKJV)
In many funerals there are scenes of tears and painful expressions bordering on despair. When, on the other hand, I find myself attending the funeral of a believer, I attend a farewell that has a completely different flavor. Even with hearts and eyes wet with tears, the spirit of believers succeeds in raising the certainty of faith on the wings of victory over death brought by Jesus and given to his own. The air is imbued with a consolation that transcends human understanding, like a veil envelops all present, believers and non-believers alike. Some feel displaced in attending a ceremony that rather concentrates on the life of the deceased, dwells on his faith and exalts his head and accomplisher Christ Jesus. The memory of the faith lived and the sufferings faced and overcome by means of faith revive the image of the dear departed and they leave an image to many known and others unknown.
Anyone who has experienced these moments knows that sadness is not lacking, a lump in the throat throttles every possible desire to say something. They hear the words of a song: "I know that Jesus will bring me to heaven ...", they instill hope and cheer the afflicted. The words of the song become a personal declaration, which also reflects those who at the moment left the terrestrial hotel and fell asleep in the Lord. Those who do not know the Scriptures, while perceiving something new and different, find it hard to believe, to turn their gaze to the transcendent. Here then, the reading of some verses of Scripture, such as those on New Jerusalem seen by John or the valley of the shadow of death crossed by the person praying in the psalms, break the skepticism of the cold heart and of those who are striving to remain indifferent. Then you realize that when men lack the words, the word of God echoes and shakes the slumbering lives, distracted by today's life, and in the presence of death someone begins to wonder.
"There will be no more death, no tears, no pain", resounds from the Apocalypse. But every day we face it, we face it without backing away from the strength that comes from faith in the Lord. The greeting of those who fell asleep in the Lord says that that is what awaits everyone. How important it is to think about it with the certainty of the resurrection. The life of the believer cannot be separated from that day, rather it should be lived in the projection of eternity with God and the redeemed. Only such an attitude can make words like "Don't be a profession" understandable. It can give us the strength to face the pain of a departure with the dignity of those who know they have fought a good fight and that a crown of glory awaits them. More happens, as the Psalm declares: "I will bless the Lord at all times". The sadness fades, the lump in the throat melts, while tears streak the face, the hands rise to the sky and a song of praise rises from the heart. Like a good seed in the earth it dies to bear fruit, each time the seed of a life is transformed into something glorious: a legacy of witness becomes evangelization, announcement of the good news that Jesus died, is risen and is the Lord of our life .
Weekly Bible reading plan
January 27 Exodus 16-18; Matthew 18:1-20
January 28 Exodus 19-20; Matthew 18:21-35
January 29 Exodus 21-22; Matthew 19
January 30 Exodus 23-24; Matthew 20:1-16
January 31 Exodus 25-26; Matthew 20:17-34
February 01 Exodus 27-28; Matthew 21:1-22
February 02 Exodus 29-30; Matthew 21:23-46
Not to forget
On January 27, 1945, Soviet troops arrived in Auschwitz and freed the survivors of the main Nazi death camp. During Nazism every Jew was forced to wear a gloomy patch of cloth sewn in the shape of a star of David in Germany as well as in every country conquered by the Germans, so as to make the Jew distinguishable. Since 2008, January 27 is the Day of Remembrance, a moment of reflection on the Shoah, the planned extermination of millions of Jews in Europe by the Nazi regime and its allied fascist regimes.