"I am the Resurrection and the Life."

Thursday, 5/25/ 17

Today’s Responsorial Psalm tells us to “Sing a new song unto the Lord.” Let me tell you about a time when I heard a new song. It was in 1966, and I had just returned from twelve years in Korea.

My brother-in-law told me that his partner’s daughter had been engaged to a boy killed in Viet Nam. And he suggested I go help out at the funeral Mass at the St. Louis Cathedral. Thinking that I would be one of the two priests there, I found the priests’ sacristy packed with priests my age, and I recognized them as those who had been my classmates at the diocesan seminary  twenty-four years before. (The dead boy was Father Tom Mullin's nephew.)

We all lined us, and as the line of us processed outside the west side of the cathedral, I found myself preparing to join in on the opening hymn for the Catholic funeral Mass, “Requien Aeternam, dona eis Domine.” But as I followed our group in through the cathedral’s front door, I was greeted by a new song.

The dead boy had joined a St. Lois boy, Ray Repp, in writing gospel songs. Ray, a thin redhead in a black suit, was standing with his guitar on the wide marble sanctuary, singing a hymn he and the dead boy had written.

I am the Resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will never die.

 I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me will live a new life.”

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