Here is the text of the homily I prepared for the celebration of the Mass of Resurrection which took place today remembering one of the women of faith who has been part of this community for a very long time.
Funeral Homily for Anna Bosselle
We are here this morning to pray together for our sister Anna. Her brothers and sisters, her children, her grandchildren, her nieces and her nephews all join together with the members of this parish family who have known and loved her. Together we want to thank God today for the gift that Anna has been to us, and we want to commend her to God who has promised us the gift of eternal life in heaven.
Saint Paul speaks of this promise in the letter he wrote to the early Christian community living in Rome. The words he shared then are just as relevant for us today: ‘Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?’ (Rom 6: 3) and therefore, ‘just as Christ was raised from the dead .. so we too might walk in newness of life’ (Rom 6: 4).
Up until the time of Jesus, people had lived their lives, they had fallen in love, they had witnessed death, but never before had they even heard of the possibility of resurrection. Then Jesus came along speaking about his Father in heaven … and about the fact that this Father loves all of us, that we ‘should be called children of God’ (1 Jn 3: 1) … and then Jesus himself was raised from the dead, appeared to the disciples and then ascended into heaven! These are not just stories; they can’t be just stories, otherwise they would never have endured the centuries that have come and gone. If this was just a story, we would never have heard it told today, but these are not just stories. Jesus really did rise from the dead, and because he rose from the dead, we believe that when our time here on earth comes to an end, we too will rise to new life in heaven.
This is the reason why we are gathered today in this church. Our sister Anna has completed her years of earthly life, and we are here to celebrate the fulfillment of the promise that was made to her on the day of her baptism.
Every one of us is a disciple, a follower of Jesus. Every day of our lives, Jesus calls us to be people of faith, not merely content to watch life pass us by, but ‘dressed for action’ with our lamps lit, ready and waiting to open the door for him when he comes (cf Lk 12: 35).
Anna knew and loved many people in this community. She was very much a part of this parish, very much a woman of faith. Her lamp was always lit. She was always dressed for action. She is definitely one of those ‘servants whom the Master finds awake’ (Lk 12: 36). Can you imagine her surprise when she meets Jesus, when she is welcomed by him, when she sees him wearing an apron, showing her to her place at the table (Lk 12: 37).
This is the promise that has been made to all of us. Today, we give thanks and we celebrate with Anna, and we look forward in faith to the day when we will all be together again in heaven.