My Sermon for the Funeral Mass of Rockland County Sheriff James Kralik
Last Saturday, I had the honor of offering the funeral Mass for a revered leader of Rockland County, Sheriff James Kralik, at Sacred Heart Parish, Suffern – Perhaps you might enjoy my sermon:
The Bible instructs us that there are two roads we may take in life, two paths we can walk in this journey, this adventure of life!
Road #1 has it that what is most important in life is what satisfies us, what we can get; What is essential on this path is me: my wants, my cravings, my needs, my urge, my convenience. I am entitled to certain prerogatives and rights; I got things coming to me, and get out of my way, everybody, as I walk down this path! Life is rather selfish on this road, sacrifice and service to be avoided. Road #1 is wide, smooth, well taken.
Travelers on road #1 hardly ever have many show up at their funerals.
Then, according to the Bible, is road #2.
This path – – admittedly, less travelled, narrow, rocky, harder to walk – emphasizes:
selflessness, not selfishness
virtue, not vice
others before me
service over being waited upon
duty over rights
to give rather than to get
sacrifice preferred to satisfaction.
People who walk path #2 have standing-room only funerals, because so many have loved and cherished them.
The most radiant example of the second way is Jesus:
“I came to serve, not to be served!”
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you!”
“Greater love than this no one has than to give his life for another.”
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, walked the second path up to a hill called Calvary, on a Friday strangely termed “good,” to sacrifice His life on a cross so that we who believe in Him might have eternal life.
How blessed are we, my friends, when we encounter people like Jesus who walk the second path . . .
. . . and this rather somber morning we thank God that we indeed met one in Jim Kralik!
Just ask the law enforcement community, especially the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department;
Ask our seniors and our kids who benefitted from Jim’s initiatives;
Question the police officers who salute Sheriff Kralik as an older brother, mentor, leader, exemplar, and friend;
Ask neighbors and friends, from Suffern to Gettysburg;
Ask Father Furey who affirmed Jim’s faith right before he passed with the last sacraments – – confession, communion, anointing . ..
Ask his wife, his love of nearly half a century, a love sealed as a sacrament in this very Church, and the children who were the center of his life . . .
Rockland County echoes with a crescendo of acclamation today: behold a man who chose that road less traveled, the second path extolled in God’s Word, the way of Jesus and His saints, the road of goodness, truth, beauty, and love, the road that leads to life, “for it is in dying that we are born to eternal life,” and concluded with the words of Jesus we all long to hear: “Well done, good and faithful servant! Now enter the kingdom prepared for you from all eternity by my heavenly father.”
Sheriff Kralick, Jim: thank you for taking the path you did; thanks for inspiring all of us to do the same.