The Final Wish of a Dying Friend

Consider the following scenario. You are crossing the street with a friend and suddenly as if out of nowhere a large truck is bearing down on you both. Your friend sees it coming and pushes you out of the way but takes the full force of the hit himself. Coming to your senses you run to your friend who lies dying in the road. In grief you lament his imminent death and thank him for saving your life. You say, “What can I ever do to thank you for what you have done?!”  And he says, with his dying breath, “Please go to Church and remember me at the altar every Sunday.”  ….Would you do it? …..Of course you would! This is the final wish of a dying friend who saved your life.

Well, isn’t this what Jesus did? Just before he died for us he left us a last request: “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Do what? you might say. Here is Jesus request in context:  The setting is the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples on the last evening before he died. As he sat at table with them he said,  “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover  with you before I suffer…” Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.  So here is what we are to do in memory of Him: celebrate the Holy Mass, receive Holy Communion! It seems so little and yet so many have drifted away from this last request. It must have been important to Jesus since it was his final request.

So here is a powerful to get to Mass each Sunday: to fulfill the final wish of a dying friend, a dying Savior and Lord who saved your life, who died in your place: “Do this in memory of me.”  The Book of Psalms also says it so well: “What return (what thanks) can I ever give the Lord for all the good he has done for me?! The cup of salvation I will take up, and I will call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps 116:13) What a beautiful line to remember as you see the priest lift up the Chalice at every mass and remember the final wish of a dying friend.

Consider sharing this sort of reflection with those who have drifted away from attending Mass. If attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion is understood as the final wish of a dying friend then to fail to do so is seen as a much more personal neglect of a a very profound and meaningful request. Missing Mass isn’t just the infraction of some abstract law, it is a personal matter. It is to refuse the final wish of a dying friend.

14 Replies to “The Final Wish of a Dying Friend”

  1. I thought about this some more in the shower, and I think you could make a somewhat better argument in favor of reverence at Mass. However, there is nothing at all in the Scripture passage about Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation — Sunday became the Lord’s Day very early on, perhaps even before the Ascension, but not *this* early. “Do this in memory of Me” obviously applies to weekday Masses, too, but the Magisterium and Sacred Tradition have made a distinction between weekdays and Holy Days in terms of our obligation.

    Or you could argue that this “last wish” was in favor of Marian devotion.

  2. Well put Father, I never thought of it that way. I have some friends who are Roman Catholic (one whose girlfriend got him going to mass again and one who says he is not one of those seriously religious people) and have drifted from the church or are luke warm in their faith. I sent them a nice card and a set of Rosarys for Lent. They are both going through rough times trying to find a job and figuring out their lives. If they respond, not sure since people seem to get a little weirded out and want to brand you “God squad” even though they have known you for a long time, I will definitley use this analogy. God Bless you and pray they respond, not so much to me but to Lord through my gesture.

  3. When I read the first part of the post I thought this was going to be a post on the Apostolic Pardon.

  4. Sorry if I wasn’t clear. When I read the first few lines of the post I thought that the friend’s last wish would be for the imposition of the Apostolic Pardon. But that is one of the reasons I love the blog/your sermons so much, I never know where you are going when you begin a story but they all are spot on.

  5. oh how I long to partake of the Holy Sacrament of Communion! How truly blessed we are to have it available to us! Living in a very remote area, the nearest Church is 20miles away and when I finally was able to go I was told they hold “closed communion” which I am excluded from unless I join the church…:( I was baptised Lutheran however, in search of the blessed Sacrament, I have been willing to forgoe denomination only to discover it is either not offered on a scheduled basis or is yet again restricted for members only. Pray for those Church Leaders who with hold the Blessed Sacraments from those who so eagerly would partake of it!

  6. Mary! You have the will ~ surely there is a way! Please understand the position of Holy Mother Church that we need to be educated in the Faith, even as our children must first be educated before they may receive, so we are all truly one communion.

    Your zeal and the Holy Spirit will see you through to entrance into the Church. Remember, you’re not being excluded so much as you are being invited to learn and grow until it is time for you to come into full communion. This can be a very joyful time for you, filled with holy longing and joyful anticipation!

    Obtain a rosary, learn the prayers, and ask our Blessed Mother, whose name you share, to help you!

    God bless you! I would bet every reader here will pray for you! 🙂

  7. Dear Mary, My husband and I came to the Church 26 years ago. We had to go through learning many things before we could partake of the Eucharist. We went to Mass every day and yearned for the time that was to come that we could be fully part of the body of Christ. We prayed the rosary often during that waiting time and made friends with some very wonderful and holy people. This waiting time was a time of tremendious growth for both of us.
    You will be in our prayers.
    God Bless you. He is calling you.

  8. This post is very well-put, and I have to admit, the first thing I thought of when you used the example of the friend dying, is some of the stuff I’ve seen in the ER and also how a good friend of mine died. I think of that friend every single day, and her dying wish. I think of all the deep conversations we’ve had.

    It put things into context for me regarding Jesus’ dying wish, for us to go to Mass and live a holy life. I’m glad you wrote this, because this is something I will keep saved somewhere for when I have a bad day, and I need to be reminded of how I need to keep my faith and what Jesus wanted/wants for us.

  9. Father, not sure if you know the EF, but, at the communion of the priest, that psalm is part of his prayers.

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