Fr. Mario Knezovic

       In these days, I believe that we have all visited the tombs of our dearest ones. We went intentionally to the places where rest our faithful departed. We encountered the memory covered by tombstones.

       Tombs are places where we also make the experience of the fragility of human existence. There, we can clearly feel our dependence on the Saviour. A cemetery is a place where even an unbeliever awakens to prayer. Cemeteries are places where the sinner beats his breast and asks forgiveness.

        The reality of the tomb is an appeal to each man to be converted and to believe in the Gospel. This visit propels the life that is within us - the life given by Jesus Christ - to speak in spite of our mortality. Tombs whisper and tell us not to fail to spot heaven, eternity. The cemetery is a place of great messages, of dialogue between heaven and earth, between what is eternal and what is passing, between today and tomorrow. It is, finally, a discourse between those who gave their lives for our freedom and us, who enjoy the fruits of the benefits irrigated by blood.

       To stand near a tomb, without hoping for eternity and a new life through Jesus Christ, would imply great suffering, hopelessness, failure and anguish. But to stand near the tombs, with a Christian belief in the life without end through the Resurrection of Christ, awakens consolation, brings light and inspires thoughts of a reunion in the house of our Heavenly Father, where each tear will disappear from our eyes.

Truly, the history of humanity until the coming of Jesus was a reign of death. Through Christ, this reality is transformed into the reign of life. By his death he conquered death itself, this is why he could say after his resurrection:
                                    "Why are you seeking the living among the dead?"

       Humanity, however, continues to be mortal, but it dies with Christ to live eternally with him. After the tombstone was taken away, Christian cemeteries are no more cities of the dead, places of death and pain, but fields in which God sows the wheat from which, when winds finish to blow and when winters pass, a new life will sprout.

        Mak Dizdar, a poet, beautifully states: "Death is not the end. There is in fact no death. And there is no end. Death is the light that shines on our path from the nest to the stars." If God himself has walked on this path, of what should we be afraid? If pain, because of her Son, has pierced Our Lady's heart, why should we not irrigate with our tears the paths of our dearest ones who - according to the teaching of our faith - have abandoned us only temporarily?
Fr. Mario Knezovic

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