Yesterday morning I met Anthony K again when he visited the school after a long time. He is a former fellow employee who retired two years ago. His mother had died recently. I learned that four weeks earlier one of his brothers had also died. I mentioned that I had meant to at least give him a call or attend his mother's funeral. When I said that I saw his eyes turn misty and his voice broke.
Yesterday afternoon, I talked to Sister Mary F who lives in the convent by the school and expressed my condolence for the death of her brother, who lived in another state with their mother. She had just come from his funeral. But she had another sad news to tell me: Her mother, who had just celebrated her 100th birthday, passed away that morning. So she must be going back to bury another loved one.
How I wished I could somehow alleviate the grief Anthony and Sister were feeling, but I knew both of them were dealing well with the recent loss of two of their loved ones passing away within days or weeks of each other. I admire these two people very much. They are both good and faithful Catholics; both are serving the poor and the Church. Both are in their own ways witnessing Christ to me. And I know their mothers had an important role in making them the good people that they are. Knowing them, I am sure that their mothers brought up their families very well and I do not have the slightest reason to doubt that they are now enjoying their eternal reward with God in heaven.
Last Sunday I had the privilege of giving the homily at two Masses for the first Sunday of Advent at our parish church. The liturgical season of Advent is meant to make us prepare for the coming of Christ, for the commemoration of His first coming two thousand years ago on Christmas day. The Church also reminds us of Christ's second coming in glory at the end of time. But He will also come after we leave this earth and stand before Him at our particular judgement. We are therefore to always be prepared for the coming of the Lord, this Christmas and at His second coming, whenever that will be.
The love of these two friends of mine for their loved ones who have passed away is so evident and palpable when I spoke with them. Reflecting on this, I am all the more sure that God will look at the love we have for one another when we meet Him after our earthly journey.
I believe that there are people we naturally love, but there are people who are hard to love. But we need to love them anyway.
The two mothers who just passed away lived at a ripe old age and followed their sons who preceded them.
We do not know when the Lord is coming for us, but we must be prepared. We must be vigilant and awake. We must always be loving, as the Lord wants us to be. That's what He will judge us by. #
"Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,you did it to me." Matthew 25:40
"Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things,
who has not sworn so as to deceive his neighbor.
He shall receive blessings from the Lord
and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
seek the face of the God of Jacob." Psalm 24