On Friday, June 25, 1999, the Reverend Robert J. Lysz was found murdered inside the Church he shepherded. In less than a week, on Thursday, July 1, 1999, the Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated. How could there be a celebration of any kind? We turn to the faith shared by Father Lysz and the many who knew him to find the answer. This faith does not celebrate the event that took his earthly life, but it acclaims the rebirth he experienced in entering heaven.
When we were children, we described heaven in many different ways: for example, a place where we could eat ice cream cones continuously throughout the day without getting sick, and where there are mountains of candy just for our taking. Now, as adults, we need to know, especially after losing a loved one, there is more than simply ice creams cones and mountains of candy.
One of the first ways to understand what Father Lysz is experiencing is to draw upon a day during which we had a thousand and one questions in our hearts and minds — questions needing answers today. Remember how we prayed to God. Pleading for the answers to our questions. How when the answers did not come clearly, we even questioned the very existence of a loving God. Oh, how painful was the silence.
Father Lysz no longer suffers this pain. At the time of his death, he entered into the presence of God. He now shares in God’s perfect knowledge. Every question about the past, present and future is answered. Father Lysz is aware of what is happening in the lives of his family and friends. Even sees the day on which these people will join him in heaven.
Another way to comprehend what he is experiencing is to think about a day during our lives when we woke up, looked down the road, and thought, “Things are only going to get worst.” When we felt that way, it usually did. By the end of the day, the only wish we might have had was “Tomorrow, maybe I’ll be lucky enough not to wake up.” If we have ever been there, we know how painful it is to have this as our only hope.
Father Lysz has every dream and desire fulfilled in the presence of God. Never again to experience the pain which comes from a lack of hope, since everything he could ever want is right there in God’s presence.
Finally, we need to remember a very positive time in our lives, when we felt secure, at peace with the world around us, and especially that someone special loved us. Remember how good it felt. How excited we got when the person walked into the room. Now, we must take this feeling, and multiple it beyond our imagination, then we will have a small taste of what Father Lysz is enjoying.
It can only be a small taste. Have you ever noticed, no matter how great things are going, there is a little voice yelling, “Things are too good. Something has to happen?” The reason is we do not know what tomorrow will bring.
Father Lysz knows for the first time without the shallow of a doubt, how much God, family and friends have loved him. There is no fear of this feeling disappearing tomorrow, a week from now, or in all eternity, because he now shares in God’s perfect knowledge, and sees what eternity will bring; therefore, he knows he is loved for all eternity.
This is the reason we can celebrate. Today, Father Robert J. Lysz lives knowing the answers to all his questions and never experiencing any pains of doubts again, and knows he is truly loved forever.