Jack was a older man who always sat four seats in front of me at daily mass.   He was usually already there when I arrived.  If he chanced to arrive after I did, he would nod hello.   He would nod again at the “sign of peace.”   After mass, Jack would stay behind, a long time, maybe an hour or so.   I used to wonder what went on between him and God, and wonder why I wasn’t drawn to stay in church an hour after mass.

Jack sometimes had a cane and it seemed that he might have had some kind of pain that interfered with his rising and sitting.   I loved Jack in the way that you love the other folks at daily mass, who are always there, part of your particular “family of God” at 7 AM.  I prayed for him as well as for the others.  We were a small part of each other’s lives for years.

About a month ago Jack stopped coming and the rest of us wondered why.  About a week later I ran into Jack’s sister-in-law at the Divine Mercy service the Sunday after Easter.   She stopped to tell me that Jack had suffered some kind of “event” and had almost died.  “Pray for Jack,”  she pleaded. “They ‘coded’ him and brought him back.  He’s suffering terribly.  They should have let him go.”

I prayed for him, of course, but also told my family that if it seemed the Lord wanted to take me, let me go.  At almost 89, I should be about due.  Then I went to Puerto Rico, a whole story in itself.  Some three weeks later, back at morning mass, I noted once again that Jack wasn’t there.  Had he died while I was gone?   Looking into the News-Times obituaries  I found him.  Jack had died the day I left for Puerto Rico.  He was 82.  I wish I could have gone to his funeral mass.

Jack, I don’t know how those folks who have “passed on” keep track of those of us  whom they have left behind.  But I believe there is some sort of “communion of saints.”   Father Scott gave a splendid homily at mass this morning about how we are to be in the world but not of it.  Even now we are all united in the Kingdom of God.  Please pray for us who are still in the church militant  as we await the final “reveal.”

I am reminded of an old hymn my Daddy’s spiritualist family used to sing:
We shall know as we are known,
Never more to walk alone,
In the dawning of the morning
On that bright and happy day
We shall know each other better
When the mist has passed away.