"The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." Ps 23
Anyone who has been to a funeral in recent years has most probably heard Psalm 23 read or sung more than once. Comforting and reassuring, it promises courage during our darkest hours and God's house as a place of hope and consolation.
As we pause to remember our dead, we focus not so much on the loss we feel when someone dies, but on their union in Christ and the promise of our tradition. The Preface to the Eucharistic prayer in masses for the dead reminds us that for those who believe "life is changed not ended." This is the source of our hope.
None of these promises are intended to deny the emptiness we feel when a friend or family member dies, but to remind us that no matter how deep our sorrow, God draws nearer to us in our pain and will never abandon us. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (Ps 38:18) Perhaps most important, we need to live our faith in a way that helps others know the reality of God as our benign shepherd by the kindness we show to the grieving.
Today, be compassionate to someone who has experienced the death of a family member.
What is your consolation in the face of death/