A Funeral Homily for Millie Heiser1 Chronicles 15, 3-4, 15, 16; 16, 1-2 + Psalm 23 + 1 Corinthians 15, 54-57 + Luke 11, 27-28
We have come to this place made holy by the prayers and sacrifices of countless people who share the hope we have in the Resurrection of Christ and its promise for us. Millie prayed in the place and sacrificed to bring it raise it up. This place in every way is the “Ark” of the Lord that we hear about in the first reading being so joyfully and triumphantly brought in the tent King David provided. Like those Israelites we offer up a holocaust and peace offering with music rejoicing. Our Joy is not only about this place and what happens, but also about Millie who was in every way an “Ark” of the Lord. She carried in her joyful life the very presence of God, and those of us who lived and prayed with her always knew the presence of God when she was around. To many of us she brought Joy with her humor and with what I often of as a delightfully quirky way of looking at things and recognizing what mattered and what did not.
Her faith taught her about trust. Her faith taught her about respect. Her faith gave her a humble and simple joy that carried her through this life with its surprises and disappointments, its twists and turns, ups and downs. The Lord was her shepherd and her first and lasting love. The church was her home in which she celebrated the great feasts of life and death.
We have come to this place because God has given her the victory for which she waited so long. Her corruptible frame has taken on incorruptibility, and her mortality has taken on immortality. Death may swallow her body, but never her spirit. While away from us for a while, she is still with us in Communion, in memory, in laughter, and in the bond that we share by Baptism with Christ her Lord. The woman in the Gospel today called out in praise of Christ as Millie often did in her own prayer. Our hope today is that now Christ looks upon her and says: Blessed are you who heard the Word of God and kept it.”