The Lover’s Return — Funeral Homily for Richard “Dick” Aubert, 85

Dick was swept off his feet and went head over heels on his first date with Michele. It was during the winter which spanned 1959 and 1960. They were both quite young. He had just returned from service in the U.S. army She was piously contemplating becoming a nun. Facilitated by mutual friends, Dick and Michele decided to go ice skating together.

There were a lot of people at the rink that night. Many skaters going to-and-fro on the ice. Suddenly, during a moment while Michele was either distracted or not nearby, Dick slipped, and fell, and smacked his head on the ice. Michele later saw somebody sitting on the ice, a crowd of people gathered around him, but she did not realize that that young man was her date.

Having suffered a concussion, Dick was brought off the emergency room. But Michele thought he had ghosted her. She assumed he had abandoned her, without even saying goodbye. Surely this must have seemed like the end of their relationship. How could a relationship continue after that? Well, Dick soon returned, explained what he had happened and where he had gone, and they booked a second date.

After a year of dating, they committed their hearts to each other, entering a marriage covenant in the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Eau Claire in 1961. And their love bore fruit, particularly in three daughters; Catherine, Lori, and Heather, in their grandchildren and great grandchildren.

We are gathered here on this day, rather than gathered elsewhere, because of one man more than any other. For love, he pursued a holy and beautiful bride. He was painfully struck down, and they were separated for a time. She did not understand why they were parted and had not hoped to see him again. But then he rose again and returned to her, and their love has borne fruit since. I speak of Jesus Christ and his Church. Behold, he makes all things new, renewing his mysteries within our lives.

The holy love of a husband and wife reflects the holy love Christ and his Church. Dick and Michele have been married for sixty years, even throughout the past three years of his mental decline, living together at home until just three months ago.

On a day like there are tears from sadness due to parting and tears from beholding the beauty of faithful love. Jesus will one day wipe every tear from our eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, when this world is finally set free from slavery to corruption and this old order has passed away, replaced by the new. St. Paul urges us to “consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us.

The Lord Jesus, who makes us children of God the Father; Christ, the lover of our souls, who proposes to us an everlasting covenant with himself; Jesus Christ, who suffered with us but rose again, he is the reason we are here today for Dick’s funeral. In this broken world of suffering and beauty, Jesus is our cause for hope and our greatest consolation.

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