I recently faced an unusual temptation to skip the Catholic funeral of someone whom I know did not live well.
Shame on me.
Pope Francis has literally just called for a year of Mercy and here I am, sinner so aware of my need for mercy, not willing to extend it to my fellow sinner in Christ. As if it was too late for that person, and like it would be a ...waste?...of my time to attend their funeral.
Again, shame, shame on me, giving them the cheap mercy of "I'll remember you when it is convenient to me and my arms-length, no effort on my part, compassion."
No, my friends. Only paying homage to those we perceive as deserving of honor in death will not do. It is not merciful, it is not reverent, it is hardly Christian.
And seriously, which soul needs my prayers the most? Probably the one at whose funeral it will be a struggle on some level for everyone to pay respects.
So what happened? I attended the funeral and it was a solemn but respectful affair. This person, despite their human failings, had always been kind to me and apparently, to others who were grieved for their loss. It was a good lesson for me never to sweep someone's life under a rug just because their sins were grave and public. Even heinous sinners leave behind friends and family whose commemoration of their loved one's death also seems to help their own healing. So it seemed to be the case with this person.
All life and death are empty without Christ and I would not wish separation from God on anyone, whether living or deceased. So kindly remember to pray for that soul who passed away that if she is not yet in the peace of Christ, she be there soon. Also, kindly pray for a sinner like me to grow in love for all people during this very aptly named Holy Year of Mercy.