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A Catholic priest was driving a devout but simple member of his congregation along a country road in Ireland one day when he accidentally ran over a hare. He stopped the car, and the two men got out and walked over to where the animal was lying. It wasnít moving, and looked to be dead. But then the priest went back to the car and fetched a bottle from a bag he had in the boot. He opened the bottle and sprinkled a few drops of liquid on the hare. It immediately twitched and started coming round. He then sprinkled a few more drops on it and it sat up, looked around, and then hopped away. His passenger was amazed. íMy goodness, Father,í he said, íthat must be powerful holy water youíve got with you!í
íNot at all,í replied the priest. íItís common or garden hare restorer.í Of course the problem with any íjokeí is that you may remember it more than what Iím about to say; but if it helps us to seriously pause to think about God and sickness, healing and dying Iíll be happy.

I wonder what situations of grief you are facing, what situations of grief you have faced, or what situations you will face in the future. I spent a few hours in Windsor with my 87 year old Grandma yesterday, and whilst I was there I couldnít help but think about my Granddad, whose funeral I took nearly 4 years ago.

Today, All Saintsí Day is a day when traditionally the Church has remembered those who have gone before us, especially those who have lived the Christian life, loving God and loving neighbour. Today causes me to stop and give thanks for Christian friends who shared life with me, shared their faith, shared their doubts, shared their joys with me; and as I think of them I am so grateful, so thankful to God for each one; and it is also a moment to remember that because of their love for Jesus they are now in His nearer presence, safe and secure with Jesus for all eternity.

Jesus is Good News for the broken-hearted!

In my silly story about the Catholic Priest and the hare, the hare was not dead. It only looked dead. When Jesus arrived at the place where his friend Lazarus was buried, Lazarus had been dead for four days (11:39). Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary (11:19), two ladies who followed Jesus, and I never fail to be humbled and moved by the reaction of Jesus when he sees their grief. Verse 33, ďWhen Jesus saw [Mary] weeping and [others] who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.Ē

Jesus the Son of God was both fully God and fully man, woven together in a way I will never fully comprehend, but here we see clearly the compassionate humanity of Jesus, deeply moved and troubled as he witnesses the grief of people close to him; and it is not something reserved just for those that Jesus knew during his earthly life. Jesus is deeply moved by grief you feel and grief you have felt.

St Paul in his letter to the Romans was describing qualities of love. As he did so he was describing the character of Jesus Ė the