ENGINE OF LIFE
REFLECTION OF FR. RICHARD LAVERGHETTA
MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL FOR MIKE
Mike "loved cars, boats, RV's, anything with an engine."
That alone says something important about his personality: He didn't stop.
He kept moving, doing, living.
Even after being disabled during the Viet Nam War. As one friend said,
"Who knew he was disabled?"
He didn't stop. He kept moving, doing, living.
Even after retirement. He started RVing across the country with Jody.
He didn't stop. Even after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was a model of "resilience and persistence," as his daughters wrote in their beautiful online tribute to their father.
He didn't stop. What makes anyone think he will stop now?
St. Francis de Sales once wrote that "no one is esteemed before God for having lived long, but for having lived well."
I know you wish you could have more time with your husband, your father. I know Mike would have wanted much more time, especially with his granddaughter Roxanne.
But this we can say: the years he lived here with all of you were filled with much love, laughter, joy, faithfulness, and gratitude. Even in your deep sadness today, I know there is a deeper sense of gratitude for having shared life and much love with this good man. Your heart has been changed, expanded, filled, because of his heart.
Speaking of hearts: on August 29, 1970, Mike began a 43-year journey of love with his wife, Jody. On that day, they promised to love each other in good times and bad, in sickness and health. They have done that and so are for us an example of how God loves us. Jody: you and Mike together have truly been a Sacrament for us, a sign of the living presence of Christ among us.
God loves us in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Mike's journeys in life were not all inside a car as a salesman or an RV as a tourist. He also took a journey inside himself, inside his own heart and soul, a journey of faith.
A devout Catholic with a great devotion to Mary, Mike lived as a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ. His faith helped him transform his illness and face death without fear. I know he found a great inner peace with his God whom he loved.
Mike loved everything with an engine.
Boats, cars, trucks, vans, RVs, none of them work without an engine. Same thing goes for human beings. Our engine is love. Love is what makes us move, gives us purpose, brings us joy, helps us know we are never alone. And that love comes from God who is love. This is what we learn from Jesus Christ: God is our beginning and our end, our "Alpha and Omega."
As people of faith, our engine is the Word of God and the Sacraments. In this meal today, and every Sunday, we meet the same Risen Christ who walked with the first disciples on the road to Emmaus.
May this Eucharist be our engine, the driving force in our lives! May it open our eyes as it did to eyes 2000 years ago, so that we will see Jesus Christ truly present here in our midst, comforting us, walking with us, transforming this grief of ours into an eternal spring of hope and life.
By the grace and love of God, Michael Carey's journey is changed, not ended.
He has a new city to explore "the holy city, a new Jerusalem," the City of Eternal Peace! He is welcomed into that City by saints and angels and all who have made the journey before him. He is welcomed into the very heart of Christ, where there will be no more illness or pain, but only life and joy, and peace forever!