“How is it that you are angry with me
for curing a person on the sabbath?.”
The recent anniversary of a dear friend’s passing nudged numerous memories from my mental archives. I laughed as I considered this rebel who was like a dad to me…
I met Father O’Connell when he was a newly ordained priest assigned to my childhood parish. Our friendship took root immediately. Father always made the time to talk with me. He was the first person I told when my dad passed away. Father was also a bit of a rebel. Though he respected the letter of the law, he had great compassion for those in need. I remember his locking horns with the rectory housekeepers because he had “cluttered up” the basement with clothing which he’d collected for the poor. Eventually, the ladies relented and he was able to continue this charitable endeavor.
Years later, Father locked horns with a local mayor because he hired some striking city workers to do odd jobs around the church. He was simply giving them the means to feed their families. Perhaps it was because Father had such a good and generous heart that nothing ever came of the murmurs against him. Perhaps that mayor felt that Father was a little too close to God to mess with. In the end, the city rehired those workers and the parish church was in good repair.
I’m happy to share that a bit of my friend’s rebellious nature lives on in me. Though I rarely challenge the rules for my own sake, I habitually set them aside in the interest of love, God’s love, to be precise.
Dear God, be with us as we strive to live and to love wholeheartedly.
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