““Follow Me,” by Joseph Ratzinger, Funeral of Pope John Paul II, 8 April 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36518-2005Apr8.html.
Update: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI. I have also written a short history of all the Popes Benedict. Relatedly, some people (including a saint!) predicted his name.
I got up at 2:30 and I watched it until 6:00. The funeral was amazing. It went by very quickly. Cardinal Ratzinger was repeatedly stopped by applause. The Latin and Greek passages and chants added a lot to the experience, as did the gifts from Catholics throughout the world for the eucharist. I spotted Prime Minister Blair, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, President H. W. Bush, President Jacque Chirac, President Victor Yushchenko, President Mohamed Khatami, President Bashar Assad, and many others. The most moving movement was fron Cardinal Ratzinger’s homily
Follow me! Together with the command to feed his flock, Christ proclaimed to Peter that he would die a martyr’s death. With those words, which conclude and sum up the dialogue on the love and on the mandate of the universal shepherd, the Lord recalls another dialogue, which took place during the Last Supper. There Jesus had said: “Where I am going, you cannot come.” Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied: “Where I cam going, you cannot follow me now: but you will follow me afterward.” (John 13:33-36). Jesus from the Supper went toward the Cross, went toward his resurrection — he entered into the paschal mystery; and Peter could not follow him. Now — after the resurrection — comes the time, comes this “afterward.” By shepherding the flock of Christ, Peter enters into the paschal mystery, he goes toward the cross and the resurrection. The Lord says this in these words: “‘….when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go; (John 21:18) In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to very ends of the earth, guided by Christ. But afterward, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ’s sufferings; increasingly he understood the truth of the words: “Someone else will fasten a belt around you.” And in the very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love which goes to the end (John 13:1).