Sacred Heart

Catholic Church

Imlay City, Michigan  Tel: (810) 724-1135

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Fr. Paul Ward



Sat. & Sun., Nov. 11 & 12, 2017
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time


Notes on Dying Like a Christian



·         Introduction

o   Parish life:

§  updates on conditions of Fr. Treml and Fr. Kafka

§  Sisters are away on retreat until Nov. 17

o   Great topics in today’s readings.

§  The end-of-the-year liturgical readings bring us to meditate on the four last things (death, judgment, heaven and hell), and the Second Coming

§  Book of Wisdom is great for daily meditation.

§  In the Gospel, the oil of the five wise virgins is their good works; the vendors are the poor; and heaven is a wedding banquet

·         Today’s topic: some points about death. “Do not grieve like those who have no hope.” (1 Th 4)

o   The modern man has this problem with death: the pain associated with it, pain of the dying, and discomfort of those around the dying one

§  This is hard for the modern man, who associates pleasure with happiness; but the two are not the same

§  This longing to identify pleasure and happiness brings man to certain vanities when he dies:

·         He wants vain things in his last hour (games, a cigarette, family members, disturbance regarding one’s wealth, etc.), instead of the sacraments. Two stories:

o   They dying man in WWII who rejected the last sacraments but wanted a last cigarette

o   Example in Thomas More’s Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, of the guy who wanted to play card games to distract himself from death – after having lived a wonton life

o   These vanities bring me to another point, the vanities people bring to funerals

§  The story about the family who wanted bananas at the funeral Mass

§  Very popular vanity: can our (aunt, niece, cousin, etc.) sing, or can a pre-teen recite poetry… what, is the funeral Mass a performance of some sort?! …and absolutely no interest in the Eucharistic sacrifice, that’s the “boring” part of the Mass they say

§  The less a person attends Church, the more advice they have for the priest on how to conduct the Mass…. And all that with no knowledge of the liturgy, of history, of theology, of the sacraments…

§  Better attitudes: gravity (“gravitas”), obedience to the Church, entering into the liturgical tradition of Christianity

o   Another very distorted approach to the mystery of death

§  “Oh, he’s suffering so much, I hope he dies soon.” No, that’s not Christian. Actually, what these people mean to say is usually, “This suffering person annoys me; I can’t wait until he is dead, then I will be less discomforted!”, an extremely selfish position to hold.

§  Examples of Euthanasia in our times, worldwide

§  Review the four purposes of Tribulation in Thomas More’s Dialogue:

·         Tribulation as reparation for a particular sin – the suffering derives from the sin, such as a disease from promiscuity, or an injury from drunk driving, or divorce from uncontrolled anger in a marriage

·         T. as reparation for sins in general – we suffer, but the sufferings do not derive directly from the sins, such as one who has sickness or poverty, which God permits him to atone for not attending Mass, or blaspheming

·         T. as reparation for others, to help them save their souls, as Mary taught the Children in Fatima

·         T. as a source of merit, as all awards are not the same in heaven. Greater suffering means a greater reward, like the martyrs

§  The suffering of, for example, an elderly dying person, therefore has meaning and purpose

§  It belongs to the culture of death to wish them dead; for it is good for man to be alive

§  Better: suffer with him. Be with him. Love him. Serve him. Crucify all your selfishness with him. The sick and the needy teach us what it is to be human, to be Christian, and they fill our lamps with oil for our last judgment

·         Conclusion

o   Death is not just something that happens to us, it’s something we do. We can die poorly or we can die well.

o   To die well, we must live well. For this grace, we ask Mary’s intercession.




















Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Librevia Editrice Vaticana




Vatican Website






Archives of Homilies on Elijah during Lent 2016

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Archives of Homilies on the New English Translation