The Master Chef — Funeral Homily for John Kenneavy, 74

John KenneavySt. John the Baptist Parish is honored welcome you and to offer our greatest prayer, the Holy Mass, for John’s soul and the consolation of all who know and love him. No short funeral homily can capture the fullness of a person. If I were to preach to you for an hour about his life, afterwards I bet that each of you here could add another unique story. This morning, I’m going to reflect upon just a single aspect of John’s life, one that all of you who are his family and friends are already familiar with: his being a chef.

John opened and operated the Kenneavy’s Kitchen restaurant for seventeen years, preparing homestyle dishes, fresh bakery items, and his famous pizza. After selling that restaurant in 1993, he cheffed at several other Door County restaurants. He went on to be one of the first cooks hired to run the kitchen at a brand new, area nursing facility. And, in his own retirement, he helped to helped cook and serve a weekly lunch for his Florida residential community. In addition to his customers and neighbors, how many countless times did he use his culinary talents to feed his family and friends? Consider how much nourishment and delight John provided for literally thousands through his culinary gifts in life. And John delighted in doing it.

So what is the joy in cooking? Everyone likes to eat good food – chefs included – but the joy from cooking is more than merely eating. There is delight in creating a dish and delight in sharing it. The chef offers up a gift of self to create a great meal and offers this meal to others. A chef’s feast is offered for peoples’ nourishment and joy, that they may have life and have it more abundantly. And a great feast brings people together, connecting the chef with his friends, family, or guests.

At the Last Supper and at the Holy Mass, Jesus gathers his friends for a feast. The Good Shepherd spreads a table before them in the house of the Lord. Christ prepares a meal for his family, makes a gift of himself for us, and offers us this gift. Jesus says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” This is not mere metaphor, for Jesus insists, “my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink,” and so his Church has always professed and believed. This meal brings us into communion with the Chef who prepares it: “Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” Whoever eats this bread will live forever with the Lord on the holy mountain that the Prophet Isaiah describes, where death will be no more and those who are saved will rejoice in their salvation.

When St. Augustine’s mother, St. Monica, was dying she famously told her son, “Bury my body wherever you will…. Only one thing I ask of you, that you remember me at the altar of the Lord wherever you may be.” St. Monica knew the Holy Mass is our greatest prayer because this feast connects to the Lord and one another, that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Today, let us pray for the peace of John’s soul and receive Christ’s consolation for ourselves. Jesus Christ the Master Chef has prepared his feast for us, and “blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb.”

One Response to “The Master Chef — Funeral Homily for John Kenneavy, 74”

  1. pussywillowpress Says:

    Nice connection :). May in attendance take the Eucharistic Reality to heart & find their way home :).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: