Scripture Reading Psalm 4 - "When I call, answer me, God, upholder of my right. From my distress, you have set me at large. Take pity on me and hear my prayer. Children of men, how long will you be heavy of heart. Why love what is vain and chase after illusions? Realize that Yahweh performs wonders for his faithful. Yahweh listens when I call to him. Be careful not to sin. Speak in your hearts and on your beds keep silence. Loyally offer sacrifices and trust in Yahweh. Many keep saying, "Who will put happiness before our eyes?" Let the light of your face shine on us. Yahweh, to my heart you are richer joy than all the corn and new wine. In peace, I lie down and at once fall asleep for it is you and none other, Yahweh, who makes me rest secure."
Prophecy: "You are my beloved."
Scripture Reading Psalm 145 - "Every day will I bless you and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord and highly to be praised. His greatness is unsearchable. Generation after generation praises your works and proclaims your might."
Fr. John Ricardo spoke on grieving with great hope. Fr. hates death. He says God hates it more because he's done something about it. He put it underfoot. We cry because we miss them. Fr. had a vision once of Jesus at Joseph's grave (his father) kneeling and weeping. We need to weep. There are two kinds of tears: one is water and salt and the other - water, salt and acid. We need to get rid of that acid, not let it stay in us.
Imagine walking into your house, an amazing mansion, marble floors, etc. You say, "Father, this is an amazing house." "House? This is the foyer." You walk through the foyer into the real house and your jaw hits the ground at the beauty. That's often Fr. Ricardo's image for this life. This is not what God made us for. He made us for so much more!
Death cannot end friendship or communion or love. And you are never closer to someone you love who has died than when you come to Mass. When the Eucharist is held up at Mass, the Eucharist becomes like a two-way mirror. You look at what looks like bread, but it's not. On the other side are all those who love and they see the Lord. Somehow, our eyes meet in him.
One time, Fr. Ricardo was watching a football pre-game program. The stands were filled with people dressed in white and the yell team had the stadium bouncing. The spectators are not there to watch, they are there to cheer their team on to win. They are there to change the outcome. So, all you see is white and hear noise and the stands are just shaking. As Fr. was watching this, he heard the Lord say, "That's heaven." Scripture talks about how we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. And the image that is conveyed there is that we are either running a race or engaged in some sort of competition on a field and the stands are packed. Scriptures use that kind of image to tell us what the saints are doing for us right now.
Shortly after this, a woman died and as Fr. was leading the Rosary, he saw her at the back of a stadium. She's walking down the aisle of the stadium and it's packed. There are no seats except for one. Her husband, John, had passed away 20 years before this. They had 11-12 kids, some of whom had passed away. John is sitting there looking at some game. She taps him on the shoulder and says, "Is that seat taken?" He turns and there's this huge embrace. They turn their attention towards the field and on the field are their kids playing the game of life. She looks at him and says, "Now, let's cheer them home."
That's the great cloud of witnesses. And that includes not just those in our families, it includes all those who belong to the body of Christ, most of whom, perhaps, we've never met but who have a vested interest in us and want us to get home. They know how perilous and difficult the trip is, game is. That keeps Fr. Ricardo going. And so, he talks to them all the time because they are not dead. They are more alive than we are. "Pray me home."