Then He Brought Him to Jesus - Family Reflection Video
Earthly death gives us reason to pause. Even when it comes with a warning, we can’t help but stop and reflect upon a person’s life, our mortality, and most importantly, God’s plan for our salvation.
At the age of 95, my old neighbor and family friend, Mr. Dick Murphy, passed away on the same day as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and at the same age. I’m sure neither man had any inkling of the number of lives their lives would touch nor the number of years they would spend here on earth.
One reason I mention Mr. Murphy is to help us remember that Pope Benedict was a man like Mr. Murphy, a son of God, born to a mother and father, and raised in a family like many of us. Too often, we forget that those chosen to assume the highest level of leadership are human beings like each of us, sons and daughters of God and human families.
Yesterday when Fr. Boby and I were speaking about this Mass, I shared that in 2005, in my last year of seminary, with the death of Saint John Paul II, I would be ordained a priest with a new Holy Father. To be honest, I didn’t know much about the then-Cardinal Ratzinger. But what I, and I’d assume many people would discover, was the opposite of how he’d been portrayed by his critics. As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he was seen as the strict and even cold enforcer of Church law.
For many, that would change over the next eight years of his pontificate. His first encyclical as Pope wasn’t a message of following Church law or else, but instead titled, “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”) (December 25, 2005). In this beautifully written exposition of God’s love for us, even when we don’t feel it’s possible, the newly elected Pope Benedict revealed the heart of a priest, pastor, and theologian-professor.
Over the following years, Pope Benedict would use his considerable intellect and pastor’s heart, combined with God’s grace, to help countless souls around the world and do what we heard Andrew do for his brother Simon Peter in today’s gospel, where Andrew says, “We have found the Messiah, which is translated, Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus.”
Those last words, “Then he brought him to Jesus,” refer to Andrew bringing his brother Simon Peter to Jesus, and I believe they summarize what Pope Benedict did throughout his life. He brought people to Jesus, knowing that Jesus is our reason for hope in this life and that one day, please God, in heaven. I would recommend not only Pope Benedict’s encyclicals, including “Spe Salvi” (In Hope We Were Saved), but his many other writings, such as “Jesus of Nazareth,” interview books, and “Friendship with Jesus” written for children to learn about Jesus and their First Holy Communion.
Ever the contemplative man of prayer, shepherd, and teacher, in his years of retirement, Pope Benedict led a life of prayer, reflection, and writing. (Incidentally, every day at 4 in the afternoon, he would walk and pray the Rosary.)
The way he lived the last years of his life is a model for all, no matter what our vocation or age.
Despite his declining health, he never lost hope in God’s care for him. He often said, “In you, Lord, I have hoped, and my hope will never be in vain.”
He was a man of faith who not only studied God but knew Him personally.
He believed that Christianity is the result of encountering a person who loves us.
Like Venerable Patrick Peyton’s final words expressed his devotion to our Blessed Mother, “Mary, My Queen, My Mother,” Pope Benedict’s final words, “Lord, I love you,” expressed this deep friendship and love for our Lord.
May God bless you, Pope Benedict, and may you rest in peace and in the presence of our loving God.
- Father David's inspirational homily was recorded live this morning during Mass at the Father Peyton Center. Please view the video on our Facebook page. (You don't need a Facebook account to view.)
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!