Psalm 36:5–11 Isaiah 42:1–9 Hebrews 9:11–15 John 12:1–11
From 2001–2011, I was part of St. John’s team of lay Eucharistic ministers (LEMs), taking the Eucharist and news of the parish to members who couldn’t attend services. The people we LEMs visit often tell us how much it means to them to keep this connection to the church. What they probably don’t realize is how much we, the LEMs, gain from these visits.
Several times a year I had the privilege to visit an elderly woman in her lovely, antique-filled home. At first, she received me in the living room, where we had lively conversations and exchanged stories. As the years passed, however, she became increasingly frail and, ultimately, confined to bed. On those visits, I would often find her sleeping. Her caregivers and I would still share the Eucharist and pray together.
My last visit to her was shortly after her 102nd birthday and a few months before she died. In contrast to my recent visits, she was awake and fairly alert, although still in bed. She was interested in the flowers and card I had brought, calling them “beautiful.” During the Eucharist, she was able to recite most of the Lord’s Prayer from memory. After I read the final prayer, she spontaneously said, “God loves me.” I assured her that was, indeed, true—that God loves all of us. In a clear, strong voice, she responded, “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.”
I often reflect on this, especially in times of doubt or worry. My faith has been strengthened by the example of this extraordinary woman and her joy even as she neared the end of her life. We need to remind ourselves that God loves us—no matter what we do. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!