The gospel instructs us to store up treasures in heaven, not on earth. We all know we will die someday; we do not know what day that will be. In our faith, we are not to fear death, but accept death as part of life. We need to die to enter eternal life. Then we can think of death as something we need for us to have eternal life.
We store up treasures in heaven. That means we need to prepare for our death. We are to follow the Ten Commandments, live the Beatitudes, and love God and our neighbor.
Today, I want to talk about loving your neighbor, a special neighbor, those in your family. When someone dies, we do experience grief. That is part of our human experience. If we plan for our death, we can help our family in the grief process. One special way to do this is to plan for your funeral arrangements before you die. This means leaving instructions for your family of what funeral service you desire, where you want to be buried, and having a will, a legal document explaining your final wishes.
I encourage people to have a will. The instructions in a ‘will’ tell family members what to do in legal issues. I do many funerals every year and I see many families argue and fight because there was no legal document explaining what was supposed to be done.
A funeral home is helpful. They can handle many legal issues, such as transporting a dead body across state boundaries, doing cremations, helping plan arrangements at a church and at the cemetery. You may desire to have a vigil the night before the funeral mass. Maybe you want a visitation before the mass. Maybe you only want a service at the cemetery. The funeral home will help you. There are fees for all of this. It can become expensive for some.
The Church teaches that you should have a funeral mass celebrated for your deceased loved one. The Church permits cremation. The preferred way is first to have the funeral mass, then the cremation, and then the service at the cemetery. Sometimes this cannot be done because of distance or cost. You have a cremation done first and then a Memorial Mass is celebrated and then the service at the cemetery.
In planning for your funeral please ask for help. We are here to help. We can give you advice and recommendations. It is a gift you can give your family if you plan your funeral before you die. Planning funerals when you are suffering grief and the pain of losing your loved one is very stressful. When you plan ahead it is like a treasure from heaven. Remember, we all do die sometime.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen