Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
I had a friend who, when we would be watching some old movies on TV together, would comment on the actors and actresses, “He’s dead,” or “She’s dead.” I don’t know if he meant it as a comment on all mortality, or as a reminder to me not to look for future films starring these individual actors. I had already known Clark Gable and Judy Holliday were dead, but to be reminded of it was always a little creepy.
However, I find myself doing the same thing with old TV shows and series from the 50s and 60s, as well as on the Game Show Network (GSN). Dick Clark, who always looked 40 years of age well into his 70s, made the comment on his game show Pyramid, “Well, it’s two days away from 1985,” and here I was sitting in the year 2018 – some 33 years later! Some of those TV personalities were really gifted, and brought great joy to the viewers.
I must admit that I watch in amazement at their sensitivity to the viewers with how they fashioned their jokes and comments. There was little crudeness in their delivery. It was real class, as opposed to some of the crass depictions and comments made by so many comedians and personalities appearing today. I don’t think of myself as a prude, but there should be a respect for the audience and a sense of personal dignity. Maybe the older I get, the more I realize that we must demand this for the sake of our personal integrity.
It seems that a week doesn’t go by without receiving some notification that someone with whom I shared the priesthood or ministry has passed away. Little by little, my history seems to be evaporating. But, I remind myself that we were not created for this world, but for the fullness of the life offered to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
It is such a gift – this faith of ours – for in God’s love, nothing is lost. I find myself praying more for those who have died, asking God for their reception into His kingdom, but never forgetting the moments of friendship and personal enjoyment they provided to my life here on earth – with full confidence that, in God’s mercy, we will celebrate together in our eternal home.
Until then, we must do our best to prepare for that ultimate moment through the reception of the sacraments, reading the scriptures, praying, performing works of charity and following the Lord’s command to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the July 31, 2018 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.