Homily for Jim

for jimGerald O'Collins SJ

Gerald O'Collins SJ, adjunct professor of Australian Catholic University, preached this homily at his brother's funeral at Newman College, University of Melbourne, March 2017.

Some of you present this afternoon will have enjoyed years ago the musical about Jesus Christ, Godspell. One or two of you may have played in Godspell when your school put on that musical. Three of the memorable lines from Godspell formed a prayer sung to Christ: 'to know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more nearly.' Those lines were taken from a hauntingly beautiful prayer by the medieval Christian bishop, St Richard of Chichester. You find the prayer in front of his tomb in Chichester, down on the coast in the south of England. The whole prayer runs like this: 'Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly.'

St Richard of Chichester addressed Christ as being both his friend and his brother, a brother who was also a uniquely dear friend. In the last few years, that line from St Richard has come to me repeatedly when I thought about my own brother Jim. Jim was a brother who was also a very dear friend; he was both friend and brother, a brother whom God and my parents gave to me, a brother who was always a treasured friend.

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