The Master-Weaver — Funeral for Goldean Gehring, 93

This morning, our parish is honored to be offering our greatest offering, praying our greatest prayer, the Holy Mass, for our own Goldean. May it help her soul to Heaven, and console and strengthen you and me who are called to follow Jesus on the same journey. The full fabric of a person’s life is not reducible to a single thread, be it a job, a pastime, or a hobby. But the threads of a Christian life each lead back to our master-weaver. This homily will follow one such thread.

As you know, beginning at a very young age, Goldean sewed (and later knit and crocheted) throughout her entire life. At one point, her husband Ernie said ‘you should start a list to keep track of how many things you make.‘ That was about 275 sweaters ago. She and close friends would knit and sew together, with their club rotating from house to house, sharing their precious patterns and their congenial company. Goldean was pleased to create and to freely give. She made stocking hats for servicemen deployed to the Middle East for Operation Desert Storm, where nights can be cold and helmets uncomfortable. She made shawls, scarves, and mittens. She also made clothes for her family. Kathy says mom made her dresses and sewed her clothes. Goldean made clothes for her sons, Tom, Pete, and Steve as well. Everything was made in triplicate –whatever one got they all did.

This is like what our Father, our Creator, does for us in Christ. At the beginning of this Mass, Goldean’s casket was draped with the pall, a symbol of her having been clothed in Christ at her baptism. As St. Paul’s wrote to the Galatians: “Through faith you are all children of God in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

God is the master-weaver, who would clothe us all in Christ. Without destroying our precious and unique individuality, our Father desires each one of us to strikingly resemble our brother, Jesus Christ. This resemblance is not merely an external thing, like clothes or a costume that goes on and off. Jesus would transform us within. In our Gospel, Jesus says, “Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him… The one who feeds on me will have life because of me… And whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Goldean rejoiced to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, and so we rejoice with hope today.

I want to thank Ann Bowe for reading the funeral readings for us today. Ten minutes before the Mass began, I learned that the person who was going to read today, through a misunderstanding or miscommunication, mistakenly thought this funeral was tomorrow. When my server, Donnie Stoik, found and asked Ann to read, she remembered that Goldean had once asked her to read at her funeral. It appears that Goldean is receiving special favors this day.

But pray for her. When I die I want the people who love me to pray for me. Pray that Jesus may tailor any alterations that remain necessary for her soul so that she may fit perfectly into Heaven. And let us be conformed to Jesus Christ; through our daily prayer to him, through frequenting his sacraments, through his holy word, and through a life-long friendship with him, so that we may not be found naked at our judgment on the last day, but gloriously clothed in Christ for ever.

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