My 96-year-old mother passed away on Jan. 6, 2022, at the Iowa City Bird House (hospice house). She died surrounded by family and caregivers. Prior to her death, I had the privilege of bringing her Eucharist. She would often get teary-eyed as we prayed together and she consumed the bread of life. As she became weaker and weaker, she asked family members to spend the night with her. During my stay with her at the Bird House, I focused on the crucifix on her wall as I held her hand and offered her ice chips. The great mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus became real as she gasped for air and I held her hand ever tighter.
My mother was living her faith even in her darkest times and I began to recognize the infinite love of God in and through her. As I prayed, the Lord spoke to my heart of how he is intimately present in the poor and suffering. Jesus disguises himself in the suffering and poor of our world. How often am I blind to his presence? What graces would unfold if I only opened my eyes more to the plight of others? Jesus wants to embrace us and have us embrace those around us who are suffering. He wants us to love others with the love we have received from him. When we die to ourselves, we begin to live in his resurrection and he is able to live through us to others. As we approach Easter, let us rejoice and be thankful in the love of God and his infinite mercy toward us. May this love set our hearts on fire to serve those around us and transform our families, our Church and our world.
St. Thomas More Parish