Those Who Have Fallen Asleep
Paul uses the language of sleep to describe death. This makes death sound so temporary and indeed it is. The early Church had seen firsthand how Jesus could raise someone from the dead. They had experienced the resurrection of Jesus, a word literally meaning “to get up again.” It is not surprising then that the Christians refused the pagan practice of cremating the remains of those who had died. Instead they created large underground cemeteries such as the catacombs in Rome. There they placed the bodies of their loved ones awaiting that great day of awakening. This weekend’s homily explores the Church’s traditions regarding care of the body after death and explains what the Church really teaches about cremation.