The following excerpt was taken from The Good News of The Source of Life newsletter, V14, #37, December 25, 1997

The second commentary was a homily given a few days before Christmas by Bishop Francis Garmendia. It was at a funeral mass for a woman killed in an accident at the wheel of her car only a minute from the safety of her home.

The Bishop in speaking to us, so often people of little faith, faced unspoken problems. There can be in the minds of Christians especially at Christmas and year’s end, concealed questions: Where is this place to which the dead go? To which I will go? How can it be better than all the good things we have here, or at least the things we can hope and dream to have? Heaven holds little attraction for many Christians. We even fear eternity, heaven, and God.

The Bishop had to speak of time, death, eternity, heaven.

He immediately connected her death with the death that Holy Child born in Bethlehem would suffer on the Cross for us and her. The death that gives all deaths meaning. And His new life that alone gives our future any meaning.

And because of the holiness of his words, and the holiness of his life, which many in the Church knew of, he was able to make heaven real.

The scripture scholar, William Barclay, writes of what our life will be; “The present body is in weakness; the future body will be in power. Time and time again our physical constitution says to our visions and plans, Thus far and no farther.’ We are so often frustrated because we are what we are. But in the life to come the limitations will be gone. Here we are compassed about with weakness; there we will be clad with power. ”

“The present body is a natural body; the future body will be a spiritual body. Here we are but imperfect vessels and imperfect instruments for the Spirit; but in the life to come we will be such that the Spirit can truly fill us, as can never happen here, and the Spirit can truly use us, as is never possible now. Then we will be able to render the perfect worship, the perfect service, the perfect love that now can only be a vision and a dream.”

A NEW WORLD. “This is not our real home” Bishop Garmendia said in the slight accent of his native Spain, “Christmas is coming. Jesus is coming. And a new world is coming.”

“Our sister who has died in Christ, is now in that true home and serving us, acting on our behalf. She sees Jesus and Mary and is united with us in a fuller way than ever before possible. Now she knows.

Gently he said, “Life is hard. Life is difficult. She knows this and is praying for you al1 now. And I know you very well. But Jesus is the one who knows us above all. He gives us the Catholic Church, Holy Eucharist and Holy Penance, and all the sacraments to give us life and strength.”

INTERCESSORS.   People like Bishop Garmendia are saints and intercessors. In our weakness and in the terrors of life they stand in the gap, reminding and encouraging, calling us to be saints. Here and now. Not just to wait for our role of service and intercession in heaven.

St. Paul tells us that faith comes from hearing. Often we drift into occasions of sin. We need to put ourselves into occasions of faith. The bishop is an occasion of faith.

All that Bishop Garmendia spoke of was incomprehensible also to many of those Jesus spoke to. They had much understanding of God, but they thought that they knew everything. And so they limited him. He could not become man. He could not give heaven.  We also limit God. We cannot accept heaven and eternity.