“They Rest in You” — Funeral Homily for Dr. John Eberle, 97

By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

On behalf of the parish of St. Paul’s, I would like to extend our sympathy to the members of Dr. John’s family. He will be remembered in our thoughts, prayers, and Masses. Whenever we gather together as a community of faith to celebrate the Eucharist, we always remember our faithfully departed and their families.

Dr. John reached the age of 97 and was still able to live in his own home. He was married to Frances for almost 72 years. His son, John, and two daughters Marcia and Michele survive him. He also has five grandchildren and one great–grandchild. During his life, Dr. John was self–employed for many years as an optometrist. He enjoyed many hobbies, such as working in his yard, golfing, flying his own airplane, and tinkering with old cars.

As we heard from the book of the Prophet Daniel we are reminded that many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake; some shall live forever, but the wise shall shine brightly like the splendor of the firmament, and those who lead the many to justice shall be like stars forever. St. Paul reminded us, through death we shall be united with him in the Resurrection; our old self was crucified with him so that our sinful body might be done away with. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells us about the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus tells us that good people will be blessed, such as those who mourn will be comforted, those who are merciful will be shown mercy and those who are clean of heart will see God. We believe that Dr. John is one of the good people.

When someone dies, we experience many emotions. Sadness is one of those. We are going to miss Dr. John. As Catholics, we know that we will see him again. His life has changed not ended. Near the end of Jesus’s life on earth, He spoke to his disciples these very comforting words; “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Have faith in God and have faith in me also. In my Father’s house, there are many dwelling places…” Our houses here are only temporary. Heaven is our permanent home. Death reminds us that there is no final resting place in this world. Even the grave is temporary. We live in the hope that when our earthly journey is done, we will be at home with God forever. Only God can satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart. St. Augustine’s understanding of this truth led him to write, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

While we are truly saddened over the passing from this life of Dr. John, our faith reassures us that the sadness we are experiencing, will be transformed into joy because Dr. John, like Jesus, has died, but he died in the Resurrection. Even now as we continue to celebrate his funeral liturgy, he is enjoying the fullness of God’s presence and will continue forever.

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