Father and son

A soldier was rushed home to be with his dying father.  He was the only child and family the dying man had left. When the soldier walked into the room and saw the semiconscious old man lying there connected to a ventilator, he realized immediately that a horrible mistake had been made:

This man was not his father. The Army had sent the wrong soldier home.

“How much longer does he have?” the soldier asked the doctor.

“A few hours at most. You made it just in time.”

The soldier thought of this dying man’s son, on patrol or engaged in combat God knows where, thousands of miles away. And he thought of his own father and this old man holding on to life in the hope of being with his only son one last time. So the soldier leaned forward and said softly, “Dad, “I’m here. I’m back.”

The dying old man clutched at the hand offered to him. His failing eyes looked up, the soldier’s face was nothing but a blur. A contented smile came over the man’s face and remained there until he died an hour later.

[Adapted from a story told by Rev. Anthony DeMello, S.J.]

Because of the compassion that soldier possessed, a dying father died in the peace of knowing that he was loved. That compassion dwells within each one of us, as well — just as it dwells in Jesus and is recognized by the three disciples on Mount Tabor. The challenge of the call to discipleship, in fact, is to let that love of God transfigure our lives and our world. In dying to our own hopes and expectations, we can “transfigure” our own small piece of the world, breaking down walls and shattering facades, overcoming the limits of prejudices and labels, so as to re-create in our time and place, here and now, in the peace and justice of the God who dwells within us.