Bury the Dead!

Tobit 1:17

I would give my bread to the hungry and my clothing to the naked; and if I saw any one of my people dead and thrown out behind the wall of Nineveh, I would bury him.

It is less common than it used to be to think of burying the dead as a corporal work of mercy.  After all, the dead are, well, dead.  It doesn't seem like we can do much for them wherever they are now.  But Catholic Tradition rejects this.  Burying the dead remains a work of mercy.  But mercy to whom?  Well, to the family of course, not just to them.  After all, it is a work of mercy to bury the unknown soldier on the field of battle too, even though his family will never know if we was buried or not.  Why?  Because the flesh of the dead is hallowed, even in death.  It is the same – the very same – flesh of Adam which Christ bore to heaven in glory.  When we bury and hallow the dead, we bury and hallow Christ on Holy Saturday in anticipation of the resurrection.  And the merciful shall obtain mercy in their own risen bodies on the Last Day as well.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a Catholic author, blogger, and speaker.

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