The Lord Jesus came to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God. He came to raise our eyes to heaven, to lift us above petty conflicts, above the struggles of day-to-day life. He came to open up the ultimate reality: God loves us, provides for us. And He longs, above all, to welcome us into His embrace in heaven.
Christ exercised His power to cure diseases and handicaps. While He walked the earth, He showed the depths of the divine love by healing and helping people.
At the end of His pilgrimage, He conquered death. He died and rose again. By doing this, He showed His even-greater power of healing our mortality altogether. God took our mortal flesh to Himself in order to transform it into something other than a lump of clay that sooner or later runs out of steam. Christ has the infinite divine life to give. A day will come when all the dead will rise.
The miracles the Lord worked while He was on earth beckon us to have faith in His promises of heaven. And He Himself did everything necessary so that we could have the help we need to believe. In order for us to believe in heaven, we need grace from heaven. Jesus won that grace of faith for us by suffering and dying for us on the cross.
Now, all of these sublime realities confront us when we say goodbye to a beloved friend who has died. Recently, in Rocky Mount, Va., we lost a parishioner with an unforgettable smile. We cannot think that the Lord adorned the earth with that smile, only to remove it forever by death. No.
In Christ, the Almighty has smiled on us. We can, therefore, stand firm in the truth that we will see our loved ones who have died again. We say goodbye. But the goodbye is just for now, not forever. The Day of the Lord will come, and death will be no more.