Whenever I attend and serve at funeral masses, I could not help but notice that there are some families who would rather give the eulogy for their departed loved one right after the Holy Mass. At first, I would question such practice especially if I knew the family personally. Why is it that we fail to say good things about our loved ones when they were still around and only when funerals come do we find it most appropriate to speak?
These words from the Lord somehow provide the understanding I needed: “ …unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (Jn 12:24) The imagery of the grain of wheat helps deepen my understanding of death. That is, only when I have experienced the death of a family member, did I get to acknowledge that eulogies are given because it is at those moments where the good memories of the deceased are ever dynamic. Reliving these good memories and sharing them can be a source of strength for those who were left behind. Remembering them and retelling their stories provide a reason and a lesson to go on and impart these later on to those they are to meet in life.
Before I decided to enter the seminary formation in 2013, I also had other plans in life. My plans included becoming successful someday, raising my own family, and living a peaceful life. All of these were but a shadow of a vibrant path that truly awaits me. In turning my back from those dreams, I realized that such “act of turning my back from,” is a form of dying to oneself, like the grain of wheat. In dying, I am producing much fruit. Those lives I have touched may offer their eulogies and perhaps re-tell the good memories and virtues I have helped sow. In despising the world through the abandonment of my dreams, I had found another dream, that is to follow the Sower, until I could become another sower. As the psalmist says: “They go out, they go out full of tears, carrying their seeds for the sowing; they come back, they come back full of songs, carrying their sheaves (Ps. 126:6).”
By: Sem. Jeffrey Barcoma