Monday, February 22, 2016

Father Paul Scalia's Homily at His Father's Funeral

On February 20th, the day of Justice Scalia's funeral, USA Today published a transcript of Father Paul Scalia's homily which he delivered with great courage and grace at his own father's funeral. Read the entire transcript here.

Father Scalia began by graciously thanking many people. One line particularly struck me.
In particular I thank Cardinal Wuerl, first for reaching out so quickly and so graciously to console our mother. It was a consolation to her and therefore to us as well. 
It consoled her and therefore the rest of the family. Here is a man who cares deeply for his mother. Impressive. He went on:
Thank you also for allowing us to have this parish funeral Mass here in this basilica dedicated to Our Lady. What a great privilege and consolation that we were able to bring our father through the holy doors and for him gain the indulgence promised to those who enter in faith.
So VERY Catholic. A plenary indulgence. Indeed. Such a consolation.

Then Father Scalia went into the heart of his homily:
We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known for great controversy, and for great compassion. That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.
It is He whom we proclaim. Jesus Christ, son of the father, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified, buried, risen, seated at the right hand of the Father. It is because of him. because of his life, death and resurrection that we do not mourn as those who have no hope, but in confidence we commend Antonin Scalia to the mercy of God.
Wow. I imagine not a single person thought he was not talking about his father as a man loved and scorned, known for great controversy and compassion. It was not a joke. Father Scalia had beautifully pivoted our attention from his great father to Our Lord and Savior, the reason for our hope.

The entire homily was very focused on Jesus Christ, interspersed with personal elements and humor.
But more important to us — and to him — is that he was Dad. He was the father that God gave us for the great adventure of family life. Sure he forgot our names at times, or mixed them up, but there are nine of us.
So sweet.
He was a practicing Catholic, "practicingin the sense that he hadn't perfected it yet. Or rather, Christ was not yet perfected in him. And only those in whom Christ is brought to perfection can enter heaven. We are here, then, to lend our prayers to that perfecting, to that final work of God's grace, in freeing Dad from every encumbrance of sin.
How well Father Scalia evangelized in this homily. How proud his father must have been.

Rest in peace, Justice Scalia. You raised some fine children You served your country well. You were the father of a fine priest. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let the perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

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