Do This in Memory of Me

Reflection for the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

They were leaving the house that sad morning for their daughter’s funeral – so young, so brave, so grown-up in facing her illness and in her concern for how mom and dad and the other members of the family were coping. As she passed her daughter’s room that morning, Mom peeked in. There on the dresser she saw her favourite pin: a simple enamel rose her father had brought back for their daughter from a business trip to Spain. Mom picked up the rose and pinned in on her jacket. And she has never taken it off. When someone asks her about the unique rose she wears, her eyes light up as she tells the inquirer about her beautiful, brave daughter.

Many a successful reporting and writing career began in his classroom. In his 25 years as a teacher and, before that, two decades as a reporter and editor, he would push, question, and demand – and support, advice and mentor; he never made a student feel stupid; he just made the student see what work remained to be done on the piece. Hundreds of students had his telephone number and not a day went by when a student – they were always his students – would call to get his take on some situation or his suggestions for approaching a story. When he died, his students, many now in top positions in the news business nationally, set up a scholarship in his name to be awarded to a qualified journalism student. Every year, when the scholarship is awarded, one of his students from years past welcomes the recipient into their company and tells the story of this extraordinary professor.

She was considered the “Godmother” of the parish garden. She and a few friends cajoled the priest to let them cultivate a small strip behind the parish centre. After a lot of time and hard work, their little plot began producing an impressive crop of lettuce, beans, tomatoes, and carrots that were served at the local food kitchen; in the autumn, they “put up” some of their bounty for the community food bank. When she died, her family asked that donations be made in her memory to the maintenance of the garden. With the money, her “garden community” was able to install a new irrigation system. Her friends also planted a beautiful Japanese maple tree in her memory, with a small plaque honouring her quiet, hard work to realize Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep.”

We look for tangible ways to honour those we love and to remember how their lives blessed our own. When we gather here at this table, we take bread and wine to remember Jesus: Jesus the wise teacher, Jesus the worker of wonders, Jesus the very love of God in our midst. We come to the Eucharist to celebrate his presence among us and to remember the example of his compassion and justice; in doing so, we re-discover our identity as his disciples and reaffirm our baptismal commitment to become his body and blood for others. As we celebrate Jesus’ great gift of the Eucharist, may we make our parish table a place of reconciliation and compassion – a place where the memory of Jesus comes alive and enables us to transform all of our tables into places where he is present in our service and care of one another.