BURIAL HOMILY

THEME: I4:3 I am going to prepare a place for you

Death is an everyday experience. We die and rise from the death. When we sleep and wake up, what an inexplicable experience.

Our cells die and regenerate. There are about 6 billion cells in the human body. About ten million die daily and are regenerated.

Death and life belong together. They affect man in turns. 1 Sam. 2,6: The Lord gives life and he deals death. –Onwu bu ihe na-echere onye obula n´ime anyi. But death is not the end. Hebrew 9:27: “It is appointed unto man once to die and after death comes judgment. The philosopher Heidegger said that once a man is born, he is old enough to die.

Death is not to be feared if we are faithful to God

-But the good question is this: What awaits us when we die? CCC tells us that when we die, our bodies will decompose and our souls will go to God for judgment. So death is a separation. It seperates first the body from the soul, the person from his or her family. It causes pain. Signs of death

– lack of appetite

-confusion, fear, talk less

-hostility

-Struggle

-Peace.

Where are we going to when we leave this present abode? Jesus provides the answer in today´s gospel: “In my father´s house, there are many mansions there. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you. When I have prepared  a place for you, I will come  to take you  with me, so that where I am, you also shall be”

“In my father´s house there are many mansions there” House is a very important concept for every man. In life man lives in four different houses at different times of his life. He builds only one and three are built for him.

-In our mother´s womb, we live for 9 months in a compartment where everything is provided for us by nature. No striving, no labour, no enmity. We communicate only with our parents. That is our little world, our house.

After birth, we live in a house prepared by our earthly parents or we try to build one by ourselves. All the strivings of man here on earth are often geared towards raising a beautiful place for ourselves and our children . All the corruption, lies and killings are motivated partially by this desire to build a house. Houses appear on different shapes, sizes and colours.  But the concept of house in Igbo culture is not just that building out there. It is a home: Ezi na uno. We build, not only houses to live but other structures for our need; to keep us from bad weather: In the market, in schools and in the Church.

The third house built for us is our coffin, our grave. Only six feet and everything is gone. We may be buried with the costliest coffins but the truth remains that after few days, everything is reduced to rubbish by moths.

-The fourth house being prepared for us by Jesus himself is the one he talked about in the Gospel of today. It is a structure that will last forever. In it we shall enjoy Ndu ebebe. What is Ndu ebebe?

There is the Idodo logic of Ndu ebebe: Onye a mutalu muta onye ozo

But Scripture gives us the true definition of Ndu ebebe in Jn 17: 3 “Now eternal life is this: To know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you sent.