ANOTHER FUNERAL WITH SOME THOUGHTS ON RELIGION
I have gone to a lot of funerals lately. Richard Teunissen was the star of today’s funeral. I did not know Richard, but I know his younger brother, Jim. If Jim is anything like his brother Richard, then Richard was one helluva guy . . .
RICHARD TEUNISSEN After never having had to set foot in a hospital in his 89 years, Richard, a modest, unselfish, kind and pragmatic soul, died suddenly at his home on April 8, 2016. The 4th of 15 children, born in Holland, he is survived by 6 siblings: Helen (Ted), Willy (Bram), Joann, Joe, Jim (Pearl) and Frank (Mary-Lou), as well as Zita, Elly and Montse, the spouses of his 3 predeceased brothers. He also leaves behind many nieces and nephews and their families, all of whom were especially fond of “Ome Rich” and for whom he set a lasting example of a life well-lived. We will miss the patriarch of the family. A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Bonaventure Church, 1300 Leslie Street, on Friday, April 15th at 11:30 a.m., followed by a reception at the Parish Centre. (Toronto Star, April 13, 2016)
As I sat in the church listening to the priest talk about Richard now surrounded by the Joy of God, I saw the thirty-foot (9 metres) cross hanging from the ceiling with the suffering body of Jesus nailed to it. It hung over the altar in the center of the chancel. How weird to hear the priest talk about the Joy of God with a suffering Jesus front and center! I don’t understand why Christians dwell on Christ’s suffering on the cross. Why not have joyful images of the Resurrection, front and center, and forget about what happened on the cross?
Let us say you have a life-threatening illness. The doctors have done all they can. They say that you are going to die. You’re suffering in a lot of pain while you wait for death. Suddenly, a miracle happens! The miracle snaps you from the jaws of death, and you make a full recovery! For the rest of your life are you going to dwell on your suffering before the miracle, or celebrate–Celebrate!–every second you are alive?