Saturday, May 31, 2014

Homily for Wake Vigil Service of Fr. Robert Savage

Homily for the
Vigil Service at the Wake
of Fr. Robert Savage
May 27, 2014
Rev 14: 13
John 12 : 23-26

“Let them find rest from their labors,” the Spirit says to John the Visionary in Revelation.

Fr. Bob Savage certainly did labor as a teacher, a preacher, a caretaker of the sick, an archivist.

He also certainly enjoyed life—his walks with Fr. Phil Pascucci; his afternoon refreshments with Fr. Vince Duffy; his Irish coffee on birthdays; Notre Dame and Don Bosco football (when they won); a good joke.

After he went to the nursing home, he’d often fall asleep in the chapel while making the Stations of the Cross or in his room with his rosary.  And he’d always be apologetic about it, as if he were letting God or someone else down—no matter how often we’d reassure him, “Fr. Bob, after 95 years, you’re entitled to sleep a little.”

All those labors were for the Lord.  Those are the works that accompany him (Rev 14:13); or more properly, the souls he touched thru those works accompany him.  So, despite whatever faults and foibles Fr. Bob had (like the rest of us), we say confidently of him with that voice from heaven, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (14:13).

In the gospel that we read, Jesus spoke of the grain of wheat that dies and so produces much fruit (John 12:24); of someone losing his life to save it (12:25); of the servant who follows Jesus faithfully (12:26).  Very fitting description of Fr. Bob Savage.  He was fierce in his preaching, in his teaching religion (probably also algebra), sometimes even in friendly conversation.  But that was always to put Jesus Christ forward:  Christ yesterday, today, and forever (cf. Heb 13:8).  It was never, ever, about Bob Savage but always about Jesus.  He truly was the servant who lost himself:  in the Scriptures, in the teaching of the Church, in Jesus our Savior.

Now we trust that, as Jesus said, the Father will honor Fr. Bob (12:26).  May he enjoy eternal rest with Don Bosco and all the saints!

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