Just a brief note of gratitude to everyone who offered prayers or left comments here and on various social media outlets and other blogs. My friends and colleagues and total strangers all reached out with sympathy and kindness. The grind of the past few weeks wore us all down, but it all finished in glory with a beautiful mass said by two priests who knew him and spoke movingly about him.
I won’t remember the exact words of Msgr. Ken Tuzeneu’s homily, but I remember the theme: “It’s not complicated.” He spoke of his own generation’s habit of questioning everything from authority to God to the meaning of life, and then spoke of my father and his generation. They realized instinctuallly what many of us only learned in middle age. Serve God (my dad went to mass, said grace, and was an usher), serve your fellow man (he worked every week at the soup kitchen and was a volunteer fireman), serve your country (at age 19, he quite his job and–only a few months after graduating from high-school–joined the Army Air Force), and serve your family (he ground himself down with hard work providing for his family).
In other words: just do the right things and stop over-thinking it. We know the right things: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (the first three commandments) and love your neighbor as yourself (the last seven). Jesus boiled 613 mitzvot into two, and said “Go and sin no more.”
It really isn’t that hard, is it?
Oh, and one more thing. Fr. John Basil, who concelebrated and also spoke at the mass, said that he wished he’d known my father longer, and that more people could have known him. Even when he was older and physically compromised in how he could serve, he found those things he could do and did them. Fr. Basil talked about his stories and his example, and said it was our job as those who knew him to make him known to others: to share this life.
About 10,000 people have read this post. I call that a fair start.
I’ll leave you with some images from the week that was hereabouts.