The picture at right shows “Tommy” the Dog. According to the article which featured the picture, Tommy the dog has not missed a single mass in the small church in southern Italy where his owner’s funeral was held. When the bells of the Santa Maria Assunta church in San Donaci toll each afternoon the 12-year-old German Shepherd sets off from the village to get himself a front row seat next to the altar. After following his mistress’s coffin up to the church on the day of her funeral, Tommy has returned daily, sitting quietly throughout masses, baptisms and funerals, according to local priest Donato Panna, who now wouldn’t do without him.
It is a remarkable feat of “faith” or shall we say remembering. Here was the last place the dog experienced his owner. And thus it is here that the dog gathers with others each day to “remember.”
At the Last Supper Jesus expressed a wish, it was the final request of a dying friend and Lord: Do this in remembrance of me. And thus each Sunday, indeed, every day the Church gathers with her Lord to remember.
Old Tommy the Dog gets it, he remembers. He comes each day to the last known sighting of his former owner, a lady whom the townsfolk say loved the Lord.
Tommy the Dog is in the right place, for at the altar, at Jesus feet, he is close to his owner, for she is in caught up in the Lord as a member of the Lord’s mystical body. And to be close to the Lord is to be close to her.
I often tell people who have lost loved ones that they will never be closer to them now than at the Altar of the Lord.
Tommy the Dog “gets it.” Do you and I? Are you smarter than a dog? Do we have more faith than this Dog?
Scripture says, The ox knows his owner, and the donkey his master’s manger: but Israel has not known me, and my people have not understood. (Is 1:3).
Well, lets hope that’s not the Lord’s final description of us. Let’s hope a few of us “get it” and have come to find and know the Lord.
Follow the example of Tommy the Dog. Yes Tommy, you’ve got it right.