In the first reading a woman named Tabitha had just died, and the women gathered around her showing Peter things that Tabitha had made for them. And that scene reminded me of the death of good people that I witnessed fifty odd years ago when I spent a dozen years in a country parish in Korea.
In particular, it reminded me of one morning when I was looking forward to a big breakfast as I was coming out from saying Mass. My mental picture of potatoes and eggs was pushed aside by people telling me I had to come immediately to be on hand to baptize a man who was dying.
Reluctantly, I followed the people five miles up the valley to a death scene where a man was breathing his last. He was lying on the floor, with a dozen ladies sitting on the floor around him.
The dying man welcomed me, and he assured me that he believed in Christ, and that he wanted to be Baptized, and given Holy Communion.
With the women all praying around us, I baptized the man, and saw him reverently receive Communion. With that done, I sat back and joined the women in the prayers for the dying. But then, the man opened his eyes, and he asked, “Has the priest had his breakfast?”
With the women turning to me, I said, “That doesn’t matter.”
But the man told me, “You have taken care of me, so now you should go have your breakfast.”
With the women all joining him in that, I said my “goodbyes,” and left. And, the man died as soon as he was assured that I had left to eat my breakfast.
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