A Place of Hope
/ Resources / Reflections / A Place of Hope

 

 

 

His Eminence Archbishop William C. Skurla, D. D. is the fifth Metropolitan 

of the Byzantine Catholic (Ruthenian) Metropolitan Church,

the only Eastern Catholic Metropolitan Church sui iuris (self-governing)

in the United States.   

 

Metropolitan William heads the Council of Hierarchs, comprised of the bishops 

of the Byzantine Catholic eparchies of Passaic, Parma, and Phoenix. 

       

A Place of Hope

 

For people of faith, this cemetery is a place of hope for eternal life.  Our hope is based on our faith in the Resurrection.  We know the path to heaven from the story of the death and Resurrection of Christ.  Jesus was laid in the tomb, but He rose and reappeared to the disciples and apostles before ascending into heaven.

For all Christians, the Sepulcher in Jerusalem marks the physical spot of His burial and the Mount of Olives marks a location of His glorious return to heaven.  These great sacred Holy Land pilgrimage sites are the model of our more humble cemetery.  Every funeral and visit honors and gives witness to the death and return to heaven of our loved ones.

It is different for non-believers who see the cemetery only as a place which reminds them of a place that marks the end of the lives of people.  For those who have little or no faith, they forget that this life is only a preparation for the heavenly life to come.  For unbelievers, the grave in the cemetery is like the final "The End" in a book, or a movie about the story of the person's life.

However, for those who believe, the end of a person's life is also a beginning of his or her new life.  All the prayers that the faithful sing during the funeral services remind us of our faith.  Our death is not the end for us.  For through death, our hope and faith lift us up to a place where there is no more pain, sorrow or mourning.  We rise up to a reality which scripture describes as a place of endless joy and feasting.  We accept our invitation to the heavenly banquet.

As we make the final procession and arrive at the cemetery and grave, we have the same bitter sweet feeling of leaving someone at the airport.  For both places of separations, there is a rush of all the memories of our past life with them.  When someone is laid to rest, there is sadness at their departure.  Like the airport scene, where we see their plane take off, our eyes of faith see them rising into the sky.  Our sadness is balanced by our hope for a smooth and safe journey to new adventures at their destination, and our hope that we will see them again.

We celebrate our loved ones' final departures from the cemetery.  We remember our time with them.  More importantly, through our faith in the hope of the Resurrection, we know that we will be with them again in the next life to come.  Because we have this faith, our sadness is lifted up by our hope that we will be together again when it is our time to rise beyond the sky into an eternal life of endless joy.

 

     May the Lord Give You Peace
May the Lord Give You Peace
May the Lord Give You Peace
image

 Mt. St. Macrina Cemetery | Uniontown, Pennsylvania
© 2020. All rights reserved.