Saturday, October 18, 2014

Prepare for death well: Parish Bulletin--10-19-14

             Last week I preached about the dignity that surrounds Catholic funerals and burials.  My inspiration for addressing this topic came both from the readings and from the theme of our annual clergy conference—funeral rites.
            Additionally, we had a lawyer speak to us about a topic we don’t often discuss—how are decisions made if we become incapacitated or die?  With no legal background, I will confess that this lawyer’s presentation was way over my head!  What I came away with is the need to prepare for illness and death in two avenues: healthcare, should making decisions be impeded, and temporal affairs.  I am currently working through both myself and encourage you to do the same.
            As I spoke in my homily last weekend, death isn’t something which we necessarily want to talk about, especially when it comes to our own.  That said, no one knows when the Lord will call us home, and it is important for us to make responsible decisions ahead of time to prepare our loved ones for our passing.  Every adult, especially those with children, should plan ahead.  Her talk inspired me (even though I am only 30 and, please God, have many years ahead of me!) to make such preparations.
            With respect to your health care, I encourage you to consider having an advanced healthcare directive and assigning a medical proxy to fulfill your medical wishes.  There are many great resources available to assist you with this process, both within the Church and at most medical centers.
            With respect to temporal affairs, it is important to have both a will and an executor assigned to carry out how you would like to distribute your estate.  This can be as simple as a written and signed document, or extend to the hiring of a lawyer for your assistance.
            Sadly, terminal illness or a death has caused division in many a family.  Good communication and responsible decision making ahead of time can be a great gift to you and your loved ones to ensure your wishes are followed.  
            While death is a reality, never forget that death has been conquered by Jesus Christ: “O death, where is thy victory?  O death, where is thy sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).  With great hope in Jesus Christ, consider blessing your family by planning ahead of time for your own passing.  While neither easy nor fun, such a gift will be treasured by your family as you enter eternal life, whenever God should call you home.

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