Twilight Twitches

msgrfetscherDear Family,
That might seem to be an odd heading for a Twitch but I’m hoping it got your attention. It all comes down to the second scripture we heard this weekend: I Corinthians 12 “You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.”

Today’s reading is a lead-in to next Sunday when Paul continues describing that most important aspect of the body, namely the love that binds it together.

This week, I find myself thinking about just what does being a part of the body that we call Church really mean. Over the years I have remarked that I loved my previous parish very much. I was there for more than 30 years, but it was (and still is) very large. I would need to go through the cycle of the eight Masses we had on a weekend just to see folk once a month.

When I came to St. Sebastian it was an amazing transition. Now I could see everyone, every week. The challenge of St. Sebastian is that we are very seasonal, so in another sense I don’t get to see everyone every Sunday.

Still, it works pretty well and I have a deeper appreciation of what it means to be part of a body where the parts are so very interdependent and better known to each other.

When it comes to losing one of the “parts,” you feel the absence more intensely. Sometimes, I’m bothered about using the word ‘lose’ or ‘loss.’ This loss isn’t a misplacement; it is an absence that affects the flow of my life.

Your reaction to someone’s death affects you in proportion to how much that person was part of your life. When someone dies, or is no longer present, you tend to think in personal terms: “How does this change affect my life?”

Charlotte Newbury is one of those moments for me. “Father, I’ve got to shorten that alb or you’ll kill yourself tripping over it.” “Charlotte, could you put a cuff on these new pants?” “Charlotte, those Easter drapes look great. Wait until the folk see them after the purple cover is lowered.”

Can anyone in this parish ever remember Charlotte getting angry? I can’t. But I can tell you that there were moments when God and I were having words about some of the suffering she went through in her final illness.

Actually, God didn’t say anything to me. I complained to Him. Then I saw the cross, and I thought to myself, Charlotte surely came closer to Jesus than I could even imagine. I have no doubt where she is, and I found myself smiling and almost laughing one night as I asked myself, “I wonder what she is seeing now?” One thing I know she sees is her husband and son, both named Charles, who prepared a way for her. To Sally, our heartfelt thanks for her mother, and our hope for healing.

Sue and Scott (the Martinis) as well as Annie Gardner were very important parts of the Body of Christ who ministered to Charlotte in these last days of her life here. So did Honey, Annie’s guard dog.

We will celebrate a Requiem Mass for Charlotte on Thursday, February 17th at 10:00 a.m. ‘Requiem’... rest. We hand over our grief to the Lord in that moment, but we also wrap ourselves not simply in a cloak of sadness, but in the warmth of the expectation of eternal life.

Each of you, I’m sure, has memoires and experiences of the deaths of those you loved, and who were a very important part of your ‘body.’ Maybe today, St. Paul helps us celebrate how important we can be – and hopefully are – to each other.

Thank you, Charlotte. Thank you, Sebastianites.
In Jesus,
sign frjim

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