Here is the text of the homily I prepared for the celebration of a well-known and much loved lady who has lived in this community for a very long time.
Funeral Homily for Karen Audrey Poulin
Dear friends, we have gathered on this day to celebrate and to pray for our beloved sister Karen. At times such as these, we look back upon the life that we have shared with her. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for the many years that we have been allowed to spend with her, but we are also very much aware of the fact that none of us is ever able to predict the number of days we will have to spend here on earth. Only God can answer that question.
In Karen, the Lord has shared with us a great gift: a person who was always thinking of others, who respected others and who was liked and respected by others as well. She was the loving daughter of Margaret and a loving mother to Jenna and Derek. Each day of her mortal life, she carried a lamp that was filled with the oil of her faith (cf Mt 25: 1). Now, she carries this lamp, burning brightly, as she stands at the threshold of heaven.
Karen spent these last numerous months in hospital, in the very place where she had worked in most recent years. I had many occasions to visit with her, as did many of us. Each time I stopped by, she and I prayed together and I anointed her. These were precious encounters, moments for me to offer her the precious gift of anointing and for her to anoint me with the gift of her joy. One of the last such visits took place in the hospital parking lot, where she was sitting in the sun. What a wonderful moment that was!
Such moments should always be cherished, but ‘we know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us … in the heavens (2 Cor 5: 1). This is the reason for our hope, the reason why we can gather here to give thanks today. In the light of faith, we are saddened by the fact that Karen is no longer living among us, but we are strengthened with the knowledge that she is now living in heaven, sitting at the banquet table with Jesus (cf Is 25: 6).
Let us continue our prayers for Karen, and let us also pray for ourselves throughout the remainder of this liturgy: that the Lord may help us and strengthen our faith. We know that in Christ, ‘the Lord God has destroyed death forever (Is 25: 8). May he wipe away the tears from our cheeks and help us to look forward in hope to the day when we will see Karen again in heaven.