Today we honour the memory of Saint Pius of Pietrelcina. Like him we have all been called to holiness. It wasn’t because of the extraordinary things that characterised his life that Padre Pio was declared a saint; rather it was the day-in day-out fidelity of living the Christian life of discipleship that Padre Pio has become Saint Pio. We shouldn’t think that in order to be holy there must be some extraordinary manifestation of the supernatural in our life. Rather it’s by the daily fidelity to prayer, to the Mass and the sacraments, to our chosen way of life, to respect and love for our neighbours that we remain true disciples of Christ.
We often hear the first reading read at a funeral. The passage focuses on two big challenges of our lives. It reminds us that there will be seasons when we will endure trials, and seasons filled with joy. It even addresses the questions we often ponder about what God is trying to accomplish through us. How can our brief time on Earth possibly make a difference? To what effect is all of our toil?
A funeral gives us the opportunity to see how a single life has affected so many. A good eulogy examines the ups and downs of a person’s life, reflecting on the good that has come from it all. After a funeral, relatives and friends often share stories about how the deceased person has touched their lives and how his or her struggles taught them faith and perseverance. The puzzle comes together piece by piece as this person’s significance becomes clearer and clearer.
Now, of course, we don’t need to have a funeral in order to reflect on our lives or discover the impact that other people have had on us. We can do this any time we want. By being faithful to our prayer we become more reflective. By respecting other people we become more like God.
By taking the time to recognise the ways that we make a difference in other people’s lives may seem a touch selfish and prideful, but it’s a positive thing that we know how we are fulfilling God’s mission.