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Fr. Greg Poser's Funeral Homily

In today’s world you have to have a Password for almost everything: to open your computer, to retrieve voicemail messages and email messages, to get money from an ATM machine.  You gotta have a password.  Well, Father Greg has a password, and his password is taking him into heaven today and his password is: Faithful Servant.  He was faithful to his family, his friends, the Crosier Order and the Church.


By faithful I also mean “full of faith.”  Greg was a faith-filled person.  By “Servant” I mean that he was always wanting to help others.  That’s how I knew him and that’s how you knew him: always wanting to help others.


I became aware that his life was based on faith and helping others way back in high school here in Onamia at Crosier Seminary.  We were classmates and we were formed in the Crosier tradition.  We had excellent religion teachers and they led us to three New Testament books which led us deep into Crosier spirituality.


The first was the Acts of the Apostles which tells us that the voice of God can be heard in the midst of community life.  The second was the Gospel of John which tells us that the Hour of Glory for Jesus was his hour of suffering and dying on the cross.  The cross led Him to suffering and dying and rising to glory.  From John’s Gospel we learned that we will find joy in life if we embrace the cross.  


And Number three was Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Paul says that he glories only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  You can find those words on the absolutely beautiful rose window in this church above the choir loft.  It says: “Ours is to glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Galatians also says, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”


Then, during college, each of us had to make a decision.  What am I going to do with my life?  Should I join the Crosier Community or go elsewhere?  Greg’s faith told him to take the leap of faith and head to the Crosier novitiate.  I made the same decision and we headed to Hastings, Nebraska. 


During that year Greg created his own Stations of the Cross booklet because he felt that the typical Stations in use at that time were focused only on the suffering of Christ.  In Greg’s version the cross means that God is giving New Life to Jesus and New Life to us.  God’s gift of New Life gives us light in the midst of darkness, joy in the midst of sadness, healing in the midst of suffering and life in the midst of death. 


At the end of the novitiate, we had to face another crunch time.  Each novice had to decide, “Should I make vows or not?”  Some of us made vows and some did not.  Father Van Hoof said, “Each vow is a declaration of freedom.  The vow of poverty sets you free to share all that you have: time, talent, and treasure.  The vow of chastity sets you free to love hundreds of families and thousands of individuals in your lifetime.  And obedience sets you free to serve the Crosier Order and the church.”  Greg and I both made vows and moved to Fort Wayne.  Our formation program included some part time ministry.


Greg found a niche at the Matthew 25 Center for the homeless in downtown Fort Wayne.  He chose Matthew 25 as the Gospel for his funeral Mass.  Jesus promises paradise to those who feed the hungry and welcome the stranger and visit the sick and visit those in prison.  And in his years of ministry, Father Greg did all of the above.  He had an instant rapport with nearly everyone and a special empathy for those who were hurting.  He listened with genuine concern to those who were suffering with health problems and those who suffering with relationship problems and those who were grieving and those who were incarcerated. 


He prayed with people and helped them to find healing deep within their hearts.  Many of you are here today because he fed your soul.  That is why we miss him so and why we grieve his leaving us.


And that leads me to a question - Where did all this come from?  This drive that Father Greg had to be a faithful servant.  It came from his relationship with God.  A relationship that continues to blossom and grow.  Deep within his soul, Father Greg continuously heard God calling him to be a faithful servant.  Father Greg lived his life the way he did because he was answering the call which God kept sending to him.


Time for another Question - What about us?  Where will we find our consolation?  I believe that we will find consolation in Sacred Scripture.  First of all, we have the Gospel that Father Greg chose for us for today’s Mass.  We can keep his memory alive by serving those who are most in need.   And considering that Father Greg came to us from the farm I will bring forward the Parable about the Grain of Wheat.


We find this parable in John’s Gospel, Chapter 12.  Shortly before he died, Jesus said to his disciples, “The grain of wheat will help you to understand my death.”  For many years I did not understand this parable.  But now I get it.  In the springtime the farmer plants one grain of wheat.  At harvest time, that one stem bears 14 kernels of wheat.  Thus, there is a great increase of wheat.  After we die and are buried in the soil (like the grain of wheat) we emerge with a great increase of life.  More life than we had before.  A life with no more suffering, no more tears, no more sadness but only the fullness of joy and peace.


Today we put our faith in that teaching from the Book of Revelation:  Father Greg is in that place that has “no more suffering, no more tears, no more sadness but only the fullness of joy and peace.”

                                                                                                Fr. Jerry Schik, OSC

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