BURY THE DEAD
V. Adoramus Te Christe et benedicimus Tibi.
R. Quia per sanctam Crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
From the Book of Tobit:
I, Tobit […] would give my bread to the hungry and clothing to the naked. If I saw one of my people who had died and been thrown behind the wall of Nineveh, I used to bury him. […] But a certain Ninevite went and informed the king about me, that I was burying them, and I went into hiding. […] All my property was confiscated.
(Tob 1:3, 17, 19-20)
Is the burial of the deceased really such an important act of merciful love? Is it worth risking as much as Tobit to bury the dead? — the king’s wrath, life, wealth?
How much do we understand this sensitivity — in a world where an increasing number of families do not pick up the bodies of their deceased loved ones from the hospital to bury them; where mothers do not always get to see the body of their infant who died at birth; and where the bodies of children who were aborted are simply thrown away in the trash?
Lord Jesus, we want to help you create a different world. Therefore, we bless you for Joseph of Arimathea, who wanted to be Tobit for you. And for the Tobits of today. We bless you for those who take care of the burial of homeless people. For those who help the poor and lonely people bury their loved ones. For those who care for the forgotten graves of unknown people. Who care for the graves of the enemy — soldiers of the enemy army, members of ethnic or national minorities. May you be blessed for those who care about the biggest burial grounds in the world and keep the memory of places like Auschwitz, Birkenau, Dahau or Buchenwald.
Protect us from neglecting this act of love. Urge us, so that we will never neglect the funeral of our loved ones. So that none of our friends will be left alone when mourning their deceased loved ones. Let us remember the dead in personal prayer and during the liturgy, and by visiting gravesites. Amen. Let us have respect toward death! It is the gate of life!
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