Today I did a funeral for a four year old. I have been afraid of this scenario since I was first ordained a priest. I dreaded being a part of something so tragic. Throughout the week and especially at the vigil, I had to stop myself from picturing my own nieces and nephews laying in the tiny little casket so I wouldn't lose it.
But right before things got started this morning, I realized something that I should have realized 14 years ago: It was not about me. I had to keep two goals in mind, namely to acknowledge the tragedy of a lost child and to give the family hope because of a crucified child. That's all And most of that came from prayerfully reading the book the church provides for me. I only had to create 8-10 minutes of my own material and the Holy Spirit even helped with that.
In the end, what mattered was focusing on the family and their needs and their hurts. And that's not something to be afraid of. That's something to love.