By Father David Farrell
I remember the first time I presided at a funeral. It was about one year ago. I was serving as a deacon, and I didn’t know the family of the deceased. I remember parking at the funeral home and being very unsure of myself.
I prayed, “Why am I here? What is my role?” And then I knew: I am here, not because I know the family, but because I know Jesus.
Immediately I relaxed (a little). I walked in knowing that my role was to represent Jesus Christ’s passion, death and resurrection in light of one family’s grief.
Life as a priest is like that. I walk into dozens of environments and situations every week — churches, homes, funeral homes, hospitals, banquets, reunions, even Marion County Country Ham Days. Although I am a private person, I also represent Christ.
Familiar folks and strangers alike greet me and bring up topics like confession, Mass, prayer requests and Scripture. People can and should expect that their priests are always ready to share in what is sacred. It is our duty and privilege to be aware that every meal can be reminiscent of the Last Supper, every person suffering resembles Christ and every celebration can be a participation in the heavenly banquet.
Life is as enriching as the stories and conversations we share. My life is rich because people continually speak to me about their doubt, faith, hope and gratitude.
I hope faith becomes a more common topic in your daily life, so that we can all live more enriched lives.
As Christians and as priests, life is beautiful. And life in Christ always finds its fulfillment in the Eucharist, where it is lifted to the Father in gratitude:
“How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me? The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord’s name.” (Psalm 116)