A Blessed Reflection — Funeral Homily for Robert “Bob” Seibel, 91

The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch.

“When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
  and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.”

Jesus climbs up the mountain. He is above and higher than them all. They all look up to him. He invites them to draw closer. And his disciples come closer to Jesus himself. He then begins to preach to them his Sermon on the Mount, beginning with the Beatitudes. Who is bless-ed? Who is blessed? Jesus gives us a description. The blessed one is poor in spirit, is meek and mourns, hungers and thirsts for righteousness, is merciful, pure of heart, a peacemaker, and yet persecuted for the sake of righteousness.

When we hear these Beatitudes we usually think of them as traits we Christians are called to embody, and that’s true. We are called, for instance, to rely on God to fill our humble spirits, to mourn the sin and evil present in this world, to pursue peace and all that is righteous. And the fruit of these attitudes to be is blessedness, holiness, true happiness. Our Christian lives should reflect these blessed traits, but these traits are reflected–first and best–in Jesus Christ himself. Jesus’ Beatitudes are autobiographical. He is above and higher than us all and we rightly look up to him. But Jesus wonderfully calls us higher, to draw nearer to him, for Christians to come closer to Christ. A faithful Christian’s life will come to reflect the person of Jesus Christ.

Robert F. SeibelBeatrice, Bob’s wife of sixty-six years, and his children have shared with me many stories about him. For instance, they told me of his precious Catholic faith in Jesus Christ. It was so important to Bob that he sacrificed for all eight of his children to be taught eight years each at St. Paul’s Catholic School. More recently, during the Covid pandemic and his infirmity, he would worship by watching the Holy Mass on TV, and delighted to have Jesus brought to his home in the Holy Eucharist. Through the years, at Bob’s supper table, where everyone had his or her own special spot, Bob would pray before meals, a devotion he always kept to the end of his life.

His family told me of Bob’s incredible work ethic, of his belief in everything being done right, and how he passed this on through his example. They recall how, amidst his hard labors, he might lay down on the floor for a ten-minute midday nap, rise again, and get back to work. Yet he always had time for his loved ones. Very approachable, Bob would talk to anyone about anything. After years of dairy farming, he moved on to gardening in retirement. From his full garden he generously shared, giving food to family and friends, the local food pantry, and whoever drove by. His gifted food went far and wide.

As I said, a faithful Christian’s life will reflect the person of Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ earthly life God came first. Christ seeks to teach us all about God his Father and our saving Faith. Jesus comes far down from heaven to our earthly home to be with us, through his Incarnation and his Church. The Lord gathers his family around his holy table at every Mass to pray to our Father and to feast together. He spreads the table before us, our cup overflows. And someday, if we heed his call, he will have a special spot for each of us around his table in heaven.

Jesus believes in the importance of righteousness, that right be done, and in passing this truth and example on to us. Jesus labored hard on earth, his body laid down briefly in the tomb, but then he rose again, renewed. He lives and still labors now. Yet Jesus always has time for us. He is very approachable, happy to converse with you about anything in prayer. And Jesus Christ, who made the world’s first garden for Adam and Eve and was mistaken for a gardener on Easter Sunday morning, desires to feed you and the whole world far and wide, by generously sharing himself in the gift of his Holy Eucharist.

What do you love and admire about Robert Seibel? Realize that everything which is loveable and admirable in him, is a reflection of these blessed traits’ source. A faithful Christian’s life reflects the person of Jesus Christ. Today, let us pray for Bob’s soul, that he be purified of any flaw, and renew our own faithful Christian devotion and love for Jesus Christ, so that one day we may all be called and gathered together again with God upon his holy mountain.

One Response to “A Blessed Reflection — Funeral Homily for Robert “Bob” Seibel, 91”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    I love the way you point upward to God :).

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