Her Great Renovation — Funeral Homily for Linda Boehm, 69

I wish to offer you my sympathy and condolences at the passing of Linda, a beloved member of your family and of this parish family as well. It providentially happens that Linda’s funeral today will be the last St. John’s funeral for this year 2020 and our last funeral here before St. John’s renovation, beginning after Christmas. What awaits for this church in its renovation bears a poetic likeness to Linda.

This transition to a new phase of our parish life was expected. We’ve been preparing for this project for a long time. But the news of exactly when our Masses are ending and the hard work begins may have come as a surprise to some. Next week, these pews will be removed, this altar and this ambo will be withdrawn, and our tabernacle will be empty. Eventually these walls will be stripped, this carpet will be torn up, and apart from the workers this church will be vacated, vacant, and desolate. The sacramental life inside this church will cease. But even if the sacrament of Jesus Christ are no longer offered in this building the parish will still survive. St. John the Baptist Parish is more than this brick, plaster, and paint. And even if this building were ground to dust and had to be entirely rebuilt this parish would still be alive through it all.

After Mass in our lobby you can see renderings of what this church will look like once the work is complete. Our church is not ugly now, though you can see her blemishes, but what she will become is more beautiful and glorious. And once she is completed she will play host to her many family members and friends and many new acquaintances, too, who come to see her for the first time. On that day, any sadness experienced during the time of separation will give way to great joy. This church will be resurrected for the worship of God and the holy peace and happiness of his people.

As I said, what awaits for St. John the Baptist Church bears a poetic resemblance to Linda. Though not entirely unexpected, and Linda was well prepared for it, her passing may still feel shocking; this separation, unsettling; Linda’s death, quite saddening. But there is more to Linda than this dust. Her soul lives on. Today we pray that any flaw in her may be removed so that with a perfect soul she may enter Heaven and go on to experience the Resurrection in a more beautiful and glorious renovated body. Someday in Heaven and on the Last Day, through Jesus Christ our Savior, may we all be happily reunited with Linda’s happily outgoing self to rejoice in the worship of God and the holy peace of his people. When you next see this church in her remade glory, may you be reminded of Linda and of these truths.

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