Missing Being with my Brothers and Sisters

Missing My Dearest Loved Ones on this Lord’s Day
Sunday of the Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross – March 22, 2020

As I was flipping early this morning through the pages of the Indianapolis Star, I stopped on one of the obituary pages and saw this very small, and startling, announcement:

Patrick L. Gentry, 73, passed away March 14, 2020. If you have any information regarding this person, please call Indiana Memorial Cremation and Funeral Care, 317 – 637- 5333.

Call me morbid, but I confess that when reading the morning paper, I tend at times to notice the ages of deceased men, and find myself thinking that I could die at any time when reading of someone’s death when they were only 71 or 72 or 73. “Only” – what an assumed word. I am reminded that in spite of being in good health, in a warm and safe home, my very next breath is never guaranteed . . . Never.

Since I had never read such an obituary, I looked for others interspersed in the obits. I found three more just like that, including these two:  “Baby boy Mays, 0. If anyone has any information regarding this person . . .”  “Baby girl Scott, 0.  If anyone has any information regarding this person.”

I was stunned – what do these requests for information about a baby mean? Did someone anonymously drop them off in front of Ezkenazi’s hospital door? What in God’s name caused the complete abandonment (not an abortion) of a newborn child created in God’s image?

Today is the first Sunday we are not allowed to gather with each other as church, to offer once again the life-creating, precious body and blood of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, for the Life of the World. Together as a holy and royal priesthood. Manifesting once again in space and time the Kingdom of God freely given us in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has made us His very “fulness,” giving us His Spirit which unites us as members one of another, sharing gifts of song, encouragement, instruction, comfort, and touch, just to name a few.

And perhaps above all to say in words, looks, and touch: “I know you, and am so thankful we are in each others’ lives, and I will know and love you forever.”

How many more Patrick Gentry’s, age 73, or baby boys Mays, or baby girls Scott, whom seemingly no one alive even knew, are dying all around us? Unique and intrinsically valuable persons who died in our city, our state, our country, our world, who breathed their last breath on this earth ALONE.  No single other person knows them and loves them, and cries for their passing.

Today we are not permitted – understandably – to attend the Eucharistic Feast of love with our parish. I have never, in my 72 years, woken up on the Lord’s Day and thought “I can’t go to church today.” Never. So today, I am reminded how thankful beyond words that I and my family, and my dearest brothers and sisters in Christ are known to me and I to them. And that in Christ and because of Christ, they love me – in spite of me, and I love them. We are, in our deepest created being, communion.

God created us this way: unique persons who are communion. He  knows and loves us personally, intimately. He is always with us even unto the end of the ages. By the unconditional grace of God, I, and we, are not just “this person”, announced as “anonymous” in the town paper.