Homily at the Requiem Mass for Dr. Pedro Cabral Adão,
(1968 - 2006)
late Consul General of
(Don Bosco Shrine, Panjim, December 6, 2006)
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I would like to begin this reflection with a prayer:
Dear Lord, we have come this evening to thank you for giving us all a wonderful gift in the person of Pedro Cabral Adão. Yes, You gave him to us. But just as you did not lose him in giving him to us, neither do we lose him in returning him to you. Because you are the God of Life. You are Life eternal. And when life returns to life, there is no loss, there is no death, really. Death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing but the limit of our sight. Lift us up from our smallness, o Lord, our God, that we may see beyond the horizon and realize that human life does not end: it only returns to where it came from: You! And while today you are preparing a place for our friend Pedro in your eternal mansion, make us also ready to enter that great Home, where you are, and Pedro is, and where we hope to be forever. Amen.
Sisters and Brothers, it seems to me that this prayer actually sums up what we are about this evening, and reminds us of a few eternal truths that we should not lose sight of.
The first truth is that Pedro belongs to God. He always has, and he always will. Our God gave him to us, briefly indeed, as a companion on our earthly journey, to be known and to be loved as a sincere friend, an endearing chief, a charismatic Consul. Yes, for a brief moment, as it were, God gave us that spark of energy infused with grace that was Pedro Cabral Adão. And today we have come to say THANK YOU to God, for the moments we shared with this man, for the goodness we received from him and for all the memories that he left behind in our hearts.
The day the news of Pedro’s death was on the newspapers, a cousin of mine phoned me up and she said: “I am mourning today – estou de luto!” I found a perfect echo of my own feelings in her words, and I am sure that all of us who had known and grown to love Pedro Cabral Adão must have felt the same way. But today, I want to tell this cousin of mine – who is sitting in this very chapel – I want to tell all of you and myself that we need not mourn the death of our friend. For we have not lost him, in giving him back to God. Rather, Pedro continues to live in us, in our memory, in our heart, and, very especially, he continues to live in that new self that we became when he, Pedro, touched our lives, when he impacted us with his brilliance, his dynamism, his multifaceted talents and, above all, his zest for life and for beauty.
Today we have come together to celebrate this fine young man who, as the First Reading of today tells us, was reasonably free from the vices of our age, free from selfishness and greed, free from self promotion and from the ever present ego, a fine gentleman who, as the Consul General of Portugal in Goa, worked purposefully for the strengthening of Indo-Portuguese ties, who brought significant changes in the working system of the Consulate and who, for many inside and outside the Consulate, was the best Consul that Portugal gave to Goa!
The second thing that the prayer we said above reminds us of, is that death is only a horizon. I think it is helpful to think of death as a horizon. We don’t say someone has ceased to exist just because that person has moved out of our sight. Death is a similar kind of horizon. Oftentimes at funerals we read the poem, "Gone from Sight", which describes a ship sailing off into the distance, until finally it is gone from sight. The poet points out that the ship has not changed because he cannot see it anymore. The ship is just as large and majestic as it was when it sat by the dock. In the same way, our friend Pedro, although out of our sight, continues to live in the fullness of life that is God, the fullness of life that we too one day hope to attain. The Mangaloreans have a beautiful expression in Konkani to describe death: They don’t say “to melo … to kobar zalo … to pidd’der zalo,” as we Goans say. [ ele morreu, ele acabou, perdemo-lo ] When someone dies, they say “to sorlo” – he passed by. One can almost visualize this: he passed by my window – I can’t see him anymore, but I know he is still there. He did not die!
Finally, the prayer we said reminds us that our Lord can and will uphold us. He will lift us up so that we may see beyond the horizon and know that we are bound together with all those we love, and with all those, living and dead, who call Jesus Christ their Lord. It reminds us that, if we have died with him in our Baptism, we shall rise with him in eternal life.
Sisters and Brothers, in the midst of things that we cannot understand or explain, let us commit Pedro Adão to God's never failing love and care. May God’s mercy shine upon him and forgive him any human frailty and weakness and make him worthy of the eternal kingdom. Let us commend the members of his family to the Lord, knowing that he will give them the strength and the courage to face the days ahead, just as he gives us new life in his heavenly kingdom. Amen.
Fr. Joaquim Loiola Pereira.