Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 18th, 2012

George Butterfield

School of Law
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Wednesday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time
[313] 1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51
Psalm 144:1b, 2, 9-10
Mark 3:1-6


Wayne died twelve years ago today. He was fifty-years-old. On the day he died all of the numbers associated with his bone marrow transplant were great. Yet, he died. Complications, they said. I mention Wayne for all of us who have lost loved ones and for whom the beginning of a new year will never be the same. The day after Wayne’s death I said the Liturgy of the Hours. The antiphons for that day were: “We groan in pain as we await the redemption of our bodies,” “Hear and answer my prayer, O Lord: let me not weep in vain,” and “I have put all of my trust in God’s never-failing mercy.” Without that mercy, that hope, how can we go on?

The first reading today is the story of David and Goliath. The battle belongs to the Lord. We overcome not by our own strength but by trusting in God. Wayne certainly believed this. In fact, he felt so strongly about it that he named his first son David. David had to show courage, had to be willing to get involved, and benefited from his experience with a slingshot. But his trust was placed in the Lord.

Wayne loved the psalms almost as much as he loved exploring the world described in the psalms. He would especially appreciate the picture of God as a Rock. Wayne’s health was fragile and he held various jobs over the years, some more lasting than others. I knew that a number of people in our church disliked him. He loved the little guy, spoke the truth, and never fudged the scriptures to make us feel better about our sins. He loved to worship God. It is easy for me to envision Wayne saying, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, my refuge and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I trust.” I never saw him afraid of anything, except perhaps that someone might miss the love of God because of his actions. He certainly did not appear to be afraid to die. He staked his life on the belief that God is our Rock and that, even in death, we are on solid ground, the ground of our very being.

I never saw Wayne look down on anyone. He truly saw the best in others. On occasion I would look at some of those others and see haughty, petty, bigoted fundamentalists filled with hatred and spite. Wayne would always correct me. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace. On the other hand, Wayne could get angry. The Gospel lesson today shows us an angry Jesus. A man in the synagogue needs his healing touch and the only thing some of the folks could do is see, not a man who needed cured, but an opportunity to accuse Jesus of something. The text says that Jesus looked around at them with anger and grieved at their hardness of heart. They could not see a man whose life needed to be saved. Wayne saw people. He went back to school to learn Spanish because he could not stand the fact that he could not communicate the love of God with his Hispanic brothers and sisters. He helped build Habitat for Humanity homes. He was concerned mostly for others, especially the poor, even when he could barely get around because of his illness.

Most of us have at least one “Wayne” that we remember. Our lives are blessed because he or she lived. May our words and actions in 2012 be found worthy of their friendship. And may they rest in peace.

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