Today’s gospel instills hope in me. Jesus resurrects a young man and returns him to his grieving mother. I lost my dad at the beginning of last year. He died very suddenly from a heart attack. I had just left my native Switzerland when I was called the following day that he was in the emergency room. Because it takes 24 hours to return to Europe, the wonderful hospital staff promised to keep him alive so that I could “say good-bye”. An artificial respirator did the breathing for him, and an imposing machine was keeping his kidneys from completely shutting down. Although he was in a coma, I felt that he could hear me. Twice, he turned his head and had tears in his eyes. My scientific mind told me that he was not “able” to hear me, that the tears were a by-product of the eye drops that they were giving him, but my spiritual mind was convinced that he did hear me. Why would he tear up only when I was telling him that he was the best dad in the world? A few days later, the drug therapies were stopped. I was with him until his very last breath. I was so grateful to have had the opportunity to touch him, to talk to him, to be with him until the end! However, as soon as he was pronounced dead, he was no longer my dad. His spirit had left him. He was a dead, cold body without a soul. It was a very strange feeling. I understood then that his spirit was now in me, my family, and everyone that he had touched throughout his life. He was “resurrected” in us!
Another recent event made me think of today’s gospel’s message. My older son married his girlfriend in Chicago in July. The wedding was beautiful and full of emotions. At the beginning of mass, I lit the candle in memory of my dad and my in-laws. The wedding was an event that they all would have loved to attend. The day following the wedding, we drove to Milwaukee to my in-laws’ graves. It was a powerful moment to stand in front of their graves and to “talk to them.” Although my husband and I miss them terribly, we felt their presence and approval. Although they were not physically with us, their presence was undeniable.
As I reflect on today’s readings, I feel hopeful that, although our loved ones will not reappear physically in this world, they live on through us and all those individuals that they have touched over the many years. This “resurrection” brings me solace and peace. I pray that I will continue to be open to God’s light and hopeful messages, and that of all the people who cross my paths. I pray that I may be this light for others.