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God Sees Every Tear, and He Knows How to Wipe Them Away
I grew up with four brothers, no sisters. I worked for my father in his construction company, no girls. I now belong to a religious congregation, all guys. In my personal journey with the boys, I learned one thing. Guys like to hide their tears. I learned this early on playing in little league. I got hit square in the elbow with a pitch. I started to cry and my brother raced over to me and advised, “Don’t cry, rub it.” I replied, “Okay,” and I rubbed it.
My friend Dave Nicgorski agreed with me. He was a roofer and he told me that he worked with a guy named “Moose.” The reason they called him Moose was because he was big. He was big because he was the champion weightlifter at the Florida State Penitentiary. When the hot tar would splatter and get on your skin it burns with intense pain. No one on the crew ever cried because of Moose; they just rubbed.
For all the guys out there, it is okay to show the tears to God. The reason why is because God knows how to wipe them away.
When Lazarus died, many tears were shed, and Jesus saw every one of them. By the end of the story, Jesus wiped all the tears away.
Another time, Jesus walked by the village called Nain. There was a funeral procession. A widow was on her way to bury her only son. Typically, one had to ask Jesus for help. One had to show faith before Jesus would respond. The widow did not do that. She had no words. She had tears, and Jesus saw them. He went over to her and told her not to weep. Yet, Jesus did not just tell her to do something. Rather, He also gave her a reason not to weep. He placed his hand on the dead boy and the boy came back to life. The next line in the Bible says it all: “the boy began to speak.” He probably had a lot to say: “Where are you all taking me? Why is everyone looking at me like that? Why is everyone so happy? Why are all these people here? Hey, where are we going? What do you mean I have been dead?”
I presided at my mother’s funeral Mass. I was strong. Something which I had learned from the guys growing up. After the Mass, I could not hold back the tears, and the waterworks began. I pictured my mother saying to me, “Peter, I cannot pray anymore. I cannot talk to God. I cannot ask God to help me anymore.” I said, “Mom, everything is going to be fine. God sees the tears, and He knows how to wipe them away.”
One of the reasons I love being a priest is that I get to be with people at the most important moments of their lives. And sometimes those moments are sad. Many times I am called to be with families who suffer a tragedy. Sometimes the pain is so intense that no one says a word. I walk into the room and there is total silence. There are no words, but there are tears. I am consoled to know that God sees all the tears, and He knows how to wipe them away.Back to All Homilies