To the editor:
On a recent trip to Alaska this summer, my wife and I visited Ketchikan, which claims to be the salmon capital of the world. We spent the day hiking in a beautiful rainforest. The streams and rivers were thick with salmon. As I gazed at this incredible sight, I noticed many dead and slowly dying salmon. A naturalist told me that salmon have a four- to five-year life cycle. They hatch from small eggs in mountain streams, swim downstream to the Pacific Ocean, grow into adulthood and then swim back to their home stream and location.
These streams have fierce, powerful rapids and waterfalls but the mighty salmon forge upstream until they find their true home. There, they spawn and later slowly die. These salmon are a beautiful analogy of what it means to follow Jesus Christ: “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must take up his cross daily and follow me” (Lk 9:23).
We are called to be living sacrifices for each other, like the salmon in Ketchikan. Husbands and wives are called to put each other’s needs ahead of their own. Spouses are called to be open to life and put the gift of having children ahead of material possessions and upward mobility. Clergy and religious persons are called to offer themselves to Christ and his Church and forgo family life. We who have so much materially are called to share our possessions with those who have little.
William Wordsworth wrote a beautiful poem called “The Tables Turned,” in which he writes, “Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.”
Let us be transformed by the light of Jesus, forging the rapids and waterfalls to reach our eternal home. Transformed by Jesus let us die to ourselves so that others might live.
St. Thomas More Parish, Coralville