A Bishop’s Solemn Funeral Dream. By Fr. Anand Muttungal

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Chintu was born in an ordinary family. He was not very clever but hard working and diplomatic dealings made him acceptable to most people. He spent much of his time in learning, so just after being ordained a pastor, he was sent for higher studies. After his returning he was appointed to a few institutions as directors but his pastoral life was very limited. It was the untimely death of Bishop lead to search for a new bishop. The intellectuals and activists could not agree on a local person to lead the Church. So the mantle from above fell on Pastor Chintu, thus he became Bishop Chintu. His long tenure as Bishop was full of surprises for everyone. Since his service was needed in many places, he kept himself busy with meetings all over the country and abroad. He belonged to the class of world citizens, a global person.
Days passed very fast. It may be God’s blessing, his retirement date and birthday fell on 29th February so he had very few people to greet him. Just before his retirements he shifted to his new room where visitors could easily meet him. As soon as the new bishop took charge whole attention was shifted to the new person and those whom he considered to be less useful became the administrators of the new team. Since he was used to leading a high profile life; every morning he got ready and waited for visitors. Each time a vehicle parked in-front of his room he thought that some one is coming to meet him. It was to his surprise that none came to visit him. He saw those whom he favoured most too did not pay any attention to him. One day he over heard someone talking that ‘do not disturb him, he had no time for him self and others, he was a transit bishop, he thought whole world is at his feet, let him take rest.’
It was in one of his sleepless nights he thought an idea to start visiting smaller mission centres which he could hardly find more time to be with them. Early in the morning he called one of the pastors to say that he would like to visit him. He went there and found the pastor was out in the field and is expected to come in the evening. The worker told him the food is ready and whenever he likes he can take lunch and that he would be going to market. He had supper with him but to his disappointment the pastor was very tired and went to sleep. In the morning he went to meet people, there he found those people whom he refused to meet due his busy schedule, the widow and children of the young man who died due to lack of medical treatment, a few children who left study due to lack of sufficient assistance etc. He thought to himself, ‘how God entrusted to me hundreds of crores of rupees worth riches to do good work but I refused to offer sufficient assistance simple people.’ He knew that he would face worse situations than this else where so he decided to call off such programmes.
He thought that he would go for preaching retreats and recollections. As part of his efforts to make known his desire he voluntarily offered his services. Since everybody knew how lengthy unprepared sermons he used to deliver jumping from one theme to the other, only a few took his offer seriously. Then he thought he could write some articles. He began to read books on various theological topics. He wrote a few articles on existence of God. He sent them to some of the reputed religious publications but they wrote him back that those articles are not related to people’s lives so they can not be published.
At last he got the help of the cook and learnt cricket. He spent his time peacefully watching the game and sharing to himself. He fell sick very soon and as usual practice; a worker was appointed to look after him in the hospital. A few days, he had many visitors and slowly he was left alone with his old rosary. One-day his old Vicar General came to visit him. He told him, “my days are counted; you can get ready for my Solomon Funeral.” A few months later during a very bad rainy season he died. Due to heavy rain and wind trees fell, flood caused havoc at many places. The natural calamity affected road, rail and air services across the country. The city faced unexpected power failure. As a result hospitals refused to keep his body in the mortuary for few days. So on the following day in the presence of a few Christians and well-wishers they buried him inside a corner of the Cathedral. The unprecedented natural calamities probably generated more devotion in people and on Sunday the choir group was pushed to the corner. A devout lady saw it with awe that the choir members were standing on his tomb and chanting the hymn, “Glory to God in the highest peace to good people on earth.” (A Fiction)

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