Today was never going to be easy

Today I bore witness to the passing of a great man.

Kieran Sweeney was a fantastic guy. I had the privilege of working with and studying under him during my MSc.  As a mentor and great inspiration I couldn’t not have asked for more. What stuck me most about Kieran was his humility with the power and knowledge he had.

This morning, I sat among hundreds of people, gathered for his Requiem Mass. It was hard to hold the tears back as I reflected not just on Kieran and his life and death, but also that of my own father’s, who died one Christmas, 13 years ago. As I mention here my dad’s death remains as one of the saddest events in my life. Watching the myriad of machines surrounding an Intensive Care bed ceasing to display signs of life is an image that will never leave me. This morning, with this jumble of emotions swirling around, I though of love, hope, hopelessness, smiles, infectious joy, families bereft, grief, laughter.

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit

This passage from Isaiah 61 was read, albeit not from the Message version, and even in the ceremony of a Catholic Mass, it was hard not to feel a closeness to God. Tonight, exhausted by the emotional turmoil, I rest comforted that God, in Jesus can indeed heal the heartbroken. My heart goes out to Kieran’s family and friends, and I lift them up in my prayers. May their brokenness be held.

Grace and peace