Anna Andrinopoulos Eulogy
July 29, 1994 – December 21, 2013
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Anna was an angel among us. She was an angel in human form concealed from our eyes. We were oblivious to her angelic identity. We saw only the exterior elements of her character.
Anna might have appeared to our eyes as a slow learning child who gave generously and happily – joyful hugs and lots of love, however, shewas more than a slow learning child; she was the undercover agent of God among us.
On the surface, Anna appeared to be a young person who exhibited genuine unconditional love to all. Anna’s death revealed to our human eyes that she was an angel brought to us in the form of a young person. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
Anna’s death spoke volumes, disclosing the true source and reasons behind her genuine smiles, expressed joy, innocent hugs and kisses. The calling of Anna by the Lord during this time of year has revealed to our St. Demetrios community a treasure that lived among us.
During this year’s Christmas season the entire St. Demetrios church community because of Anna has witnessed, lived, and enjoyed many special moments. Anna made this Christmas season unlike any other previous time. What an extraordinary lesson about life and God’s mysteries Jesus made comprehensible to our hearts, minds, and souls through Anna’s death!
· While we were busy getting ready to celebrate this season by giving to the baby in the manger some of our special gifts,
· While looking for ways and means to please our God on the day of His birth in the flesh by offering gestures of love to Him by taking care of His struggling brothers and sisters in our community.
We were surprised to discover that our God Jesus Christ who was born as a baby in a manger wanted from us a more special birthday gift. He chose a gift for Himself one of our beautiful and sweet teens.
Jesus Christ did not desire handmade gifts; rather he picked a beautiful person in soul and in body from among us to join His birthday celebration not here on earth, but in person- up in heaven. What a marvelous mystery, Jesus Christ wanted Anna herself as His gift. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
Why Anna and not someone else? Why today and not years from now? Would it have been worth it to have lived more years? Would it have been better to have experienced the stages of life that all teens desire to go through as they grow and become the adults of tomorrow’s society? Would those extra years and events have added a source of joy to her or would they have become reason for more pain? Continued….
While not quite sure who has the answers to these questions, one thing is clear to us, we trust in His infinite wisdom, we do not doubt the depth of His unlimited mercy, and we are fully confident that His unfathomable love desires nothing but the best for all of us.
Even though we do not comprehend God’s ways, decisions and actions, we have full faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and fully believe that He is the only God who has true authority over the living and the dead, and we know in the depth of our hearts that God can act out of love and only out of love, and He can never go against His nature that is the full and pure love.
In Jesus Christ the triumphant Lord of the empty tomb, death is no longer an enigma. Death is not a terrifying event anymore. On the contrary, many times, death becomes a reason for joy and celebration when a person is elevated from the low status of being a citizen upon the earth to becoming a citizen of the heavens.
When Jesus said, “let the children come to me and do not prevent them for such is the kingdom of heaven”. (Matthew 19:4) He did not mean only those children who were present at that Historical moment back in one of the villages of Palestine. Jesus did not only command through those words the parents to bring their children to church, Jesus was also calling to Himself the children of today, as he was calling Anna and every earthly angel like Anna to come to Him.
My invitation to all of us today is not to look only at the obvious, missing out on the less obvious. I want to encourage all of us to learn from the lessons of the past and not to repeat them again. Until now we perceived Anna as a special needs child, and discovered instead that she was herself a special child serving our own needs. “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:4)
She was the reminder of the presence of God’s grace among us, teaching us to cherish every moment of our life and the time we spend with each person whom we meet here and now, as we may never see them again.
Anna was our reminder to smile more often, to rejoice in each other, express more joyfulness toward each other, give more teddy bear hugs to one another. Anna was an example of unconditional love that God brought us to teach us that ultimately love is what remains,
and love is what counts, and anything and everything other than love is nothing but vanity and is pursued out of vanity and when obtained will only produce vanity.
I want to conclude by the inspiring words of the apostle Paul and encourage all of us not to shed only tears of sadness over Anna but also tears of joy as well, and to follow the exhortation of Holy Scripture, “But concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another… But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1stThessalonians 4:9-18)