Daniel 2:31-45: The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.
Luke 21:5-11: Not a single stone will be left on another.
The readings over the past few weeks can be very dispiriting, with threats of weeping and gnashing of teeth, and the collapse of places for prayer and worship, like the temple in Jerusalem. Such readings can create fear and anxiety in the hearts of faithful yet struggling Christians.
For some the current international conflicts may confirm ‘the end is near’
These readings can take us to a quiet place where we can reflect on the death of family members, friends, and those who have been an inspiration to us.
Fr Tony Cleary is a Passionist Priest who died in April 1989 in our monastery at St Ives in Sydney. He was a young man in his early 40’s. He died of bowel cancer. It was a Saturday evening with his family and religious community gathered quietly around him that he died. Tony’s last words were to his brother Peter as he said, ‘Peter Cleary lift me up’. Peter went over and lifted Tony off the pillow. He then held Tony in his arms till he died. Of all the people in the room he called out to his brother Peter to be his support into eternal life.
In the weeks before Tony’s death the community would gather in his room for ‘pre-dinner drinks’ it was the time for storytelling, laughter and friendship. For the next week after Tony’s death, the community continued to gather in his room for storytelling, laughter, and friendship.
The religious community of that time has been moved to other places and even gone to God. The memory of Tony’s dying may fade from our memories, but the charism passed down through the generations will always be alive in our hearts. Jesus says to the thief ‘Today you will be with me in paradise’ may these words bring us peace, and the loving action of Peter Cleary encourage us to lift each other up in our times of helplessness. Amen
Fr Peter Addicoat CP is parish priest and community leader of our St Joseph’s parish/community in Hobart, Tasmania.