Here is the text of the homily I prepared for the celebration of a funeral Mass which took place today to remember one of the town barbers
Gathered in this place today, we are witnessing a moment of great love. Stanislaw Ceglarz, or Stan, as everyone here knew him, met and married his loving wife Teresa in their native Poland. They left their native Zakopane and came to Canada, bringing with them a dream of making a life for themselves and for their children. Stan’s greatest dream was to have a barber shop, so when he discovered a possibility to come to Elliot Lake, he seized the opportunity and they have been here ever since.
The first reading that we heard proclaimed today reminds us that ‘the life and death of each of us has an influence on others’. Stan absolutely adored his wife, his children and his grandchildren. Each of you has many precious memories of his generosity, his loving kindness and the joy he demonstrated each time he saw you, each time he had a chance to play with you. It seems surreal to think that he will no longer be here among us, no longer welcoming customers in the barber shop, no longer speaking on the phone, but each of us who had the privilege of knowing him can easily recall the interest he took in each person he met. No matter who it was, every person was important to him.
All of us have stories to tell, and the stories we recount are part of the fabric of our lives. Today, we are privileged to be witnessing one of the significant moments in Stan’s life. The gospel passage we have heard today describes two processions that took place on the day when the townspeople were bringing the body of that young man outside of the walls to be buried. Along the way, they met a second procession, made up of Jesus and his disciples. Like those processions, Stan’s life has unfolded one day after another, each day bringing its shares of joys and struggles. Today is one of those days when we witness the procession of his life meeting wth Jesus.
In the case of the widow and the townsfolk who are spoken of in the gospel, their encounter with Jesus provided a moment when Jesus stopped, looked at them with great mercy and raised the young man to life again. Today, we are here to participate in an act of great faith. We entrust our brother Stan to the mercy of God. In this meeting, we ask the Lord to grant him the reward of eternal life which he has so deeply longed for, and we pray for ourselves, that we too may be strengthened in our belief that when our earthly lives are complete, we too will go out to meet the Lord. On that day, we will be reunited with our brother Stan. Together we will sit at the eternal banquet table in heaven, and we will know the joy of a life that never ends.