My personal message continues..
For the Christian, the unfolding of God’s revealing of Himself to human beings does not stop with Moses bringing down the ‘Law’ from Mount Sinai, carved on stone tablets. (In passing: as far back as the 18th century BC, the Babylonian king Hammurabi had his laws ‘set in stone’, and a tablet incised with them is now in the Louvre. Draco caused his code to be carved on wooden blocks and then on stone pillars, placed around Athens, for all to see – whether they could read or not, but they knew they were in force.)........................
In the Gospel according to Matthew, the Lord says, ‘Do not imagine I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets….I have come to complete them’. (Mt. 5:17) He then goes on to say’ ‘You have learned how it was said, ‘eye for eye and tooth for tooth’, but I say this…………………………………’. And he says this immediately after delivering His ‘Manifesto’ which we have come to call the ‘Sermon on the Mount’.
If we only had Luke’s Gospel, this sublime Teaching would have to be called the ‘Sermon on the Plain’ – for that is where the third Evangelist places the event. However, in Matthew, (often described as the most ‘Jewish’ of the Gospels), Jesus is portrayed as the ‘New Moses’ delivering the ‘New Law’ on another mountain top – and this Teaching is to be inscribed in human hearts.
More often than not, and unless the Family ask otherwise, at Funerals I will always opt for the core of the Sermon on the Mount – known as the ‘Beatitudes’, (and always Matthew’s version – as the Gospel Reading: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall have the earth for their heritage. Blessed those who mourn: they shall be comforted…..’. Thus, in the past few weeks, even though we cannot use the Church building as the setting, these words were declared in the Crematorium and at the Graveside in Caldicot, In St. Pierre – and in the near future in the churchyard at Magor.
It is with deep sadness we heard of the sudden death of Emilia Zangirolami in past week – all the more painful because of the current restrictions which do not permit a Loving Family to be physically with their Loved One at the time of Passing from this life to the New Life in Christ. These are truly ‘draconian measures’. Add to this the limitation of the number of Mourners at the graveside. Emilia touched, influenced and loved so many Family Members, so many Parishioners, Friends and Neighbours in her nine decades on this earth. So many would dearly wish to participate at the Requiem Mass and the other obsequies that the Church provides for us.
However, for the time being, our heartfelt Prayers are offered for Emilia’s Eternal Rest, with the assurance that we will help in whatever way possible, to make the Lord’s promise, ‘You shall be comforted…..’ a reality for Her grieving Family and dear Friends.
St. Mary's Presbytery
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