Memories and eclipses

Mary Sherlock, R.I.P

I celebrated Mass this morning and remembered my mother, Mary, who died eight years ago today.  She died on the Feastday of Our Lady of Knock and, as I write these lines, I am looking at Mass from Knock Shrine marking the launch of a year’s journey towards the Word Meeting of Families, to be held in Dublin next August. As I ask God to bless my mother’s memory, so too I ask God to bless that preparation and all families.

The Gospel at Mass today is the story of the “rich young man” who asked Jesus what had he to do to enter God’s Kingdom.  Jesus lists some of the commandments and the man replies that he already keeps these and wonders what else he need do.  Jesus tell him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor and then to follow him. The man walks away, saddened by these words, because he is a man of great wealth.

There’s talk of a Solar Eclipse taking place later today – when the sun’s light is “blocked” and day literally becomes night for a little while, though the sun shines.

In the few words I shared at Mass, I tried to draw a link between these three realities.  My mother’s death brought a barrier that cannot be crossed this side of Eternity.  I catch glimpses of her, welcome glimpses, in dreams, photos and videos and in the words that come into mind, words she’d speak and in the tone she’d have used.  These remain glimpses nonetheless and I cannot see her the way I used to.  I miss that of course and always will.  The truth remains, in and from our Faith, that my mother continues to be – in a way I cannot fully grasp or imagine but remains nonetheless.

The Gospel man, who had come to know Christ as “good” wants to do the right thing by him but finds himself at a loss and walks away from Jesus.  In that walk, Jesus too is eclipsed and can no longer be seen by the man who truly wants to see.  It strikes me that Jesus, though not visible to the man now, has not gone anywhere.  All the man need to is turn around and walk towards Jesus again.

Equally the eclipsed Sun, though darkened by the passing of the planets and the wonders of nature, continues to shine though we cannot see it.

In all these then, eclipse is a temporary barrier to the LIGHT but the light remains and has to shine – always to shine – if only we can turn around or be patient as we await its re-emergence.

My mother, the Gospel man and the eclipsed sun have much in common today.  May the “sun” and THE SON shine for all of us. Amen.

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