We will be sad at Mass this Sunday. My wife Maria's Dad passed away suddenly this past Wednesday. However, I expect that we will be comforted by this week's Gospel from Luke:
Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21
When Jesus went back to Nazareth where He grew up it marked the beginning of a journey that ended at His excruciating death on the cross. We know that His bodily death was also a beginning because Jesus fulfilled his own prophecy by rising from the dead on the third day. Jesus conquered death so that we might have eternal life with Him.
John Mark Luther, Jack to his family, is going home to the place where he grew up. For Jack, that means to tiny Coupon Pennsylvania in Cambria County. Population in the 2010 census was 73. Jack will be buried in the Saint Joseph Cemetery in his family's plot.
Jack was one of a kind! He loved his family in his own unique way. He loved to golf, bowl, tell stories with his Manhattan in hand and was always ready for a hearty debate. He will be missed. Jack believed what Jesus spoke of in this passage and he is no longer "captive" in this life. We mourn Jack's passing but look with hope to that day when we too go home!
Rest in peace Jack.