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A TALK ON INHERITANCE

Father Francis's picture
Seventh Week of Easter

Jn.17:14-18

Jesus did not die without first leaving us His inheritance. It was a simple inheritance. "Peace I leave you. May they all be one." Jesus wanted us to live in unity and peace, caring for and loving one another. This gives me an opportunity of talking about the subject of inheritance. I have never heard a homily on this subject and I remember someone asking me to preach on it.

I have never read a will or held one in my hands. When I was a young priest at Pantasaph in the Summer on a Friday a coach would arrive from Rhyl and I had to sing to them. A lady who lived in Birmingham would come on this coach every year. She told me she had the world record for seeing the 'Sound of Music' 725 times consecutively at the Birmingham Goumont picture house. She bought a ticket for just over 400 performances. After that she was allowed in free. Eventually some authority paid for her to fly to America and meet Julie Andrews and the children in the musical as well as the original von Trapp family. When she came to see me on those Fridays she always sang two songs from the musical. Eventually she died and she left all she had to me - £2750! May God reward her.

But the loveliest will I ever read was my Mum's. When it was read it brought a flood of tears to all her children. It was the way she expressed herself from her heart. When Dad died all the family decided each week they would give a sum of money to Mum. She never spent a penny of it on herself. She banked it for them. In her will she wrote words to this effect "You lovingly and generously gave me this sum of money I have kept it safe for you and now I return it with thanks and love."

When drawing up her will Mum asked me what she should leave me. I told her the Order looks after me so there was no need to leave me anything. But I suggested that she left a sum of money for Masses for Dad and herself and I said I would be very honoured and happy to say those Masses.

Children are sometimes hurt and disappointed over their parents will. In order not to be hurt the answer is not to expect to receive anything. So whatever you do receive it should make you happy.

What belongs to a person is theirs and it is not for anyone to dictate how they should distribute their belongings. I've heard children talk about and as good as make a person's will. I don't think they have that right.

I think it is ridiculous when I read of large sums of money left to a cat or dog. That money could have been donated to so many other worthy causes.

I am sure that the last thing parents want when they draw up their will is for their children to fight over what they have donated to each one of them. It is so sad when you hear of siblings who will not accept the wish of their parents' will and feud among themselves and never speak to each other for the rest of their lives. I trust parents are very aware of this when they draw up their wills so that this will never happen in their family.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the inheritance you left us, unity and peace. When we think of our earthly inheritance may we be grateful for what has been given to us and may it result in all the members of our family being one and loving each other just as You prayed for each one of us.

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