|Me and Sal - 2009|
Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. (Matt 27:50)
I'd like to tell you about a friend of mine. I've known him for over 37 years. When I was 19, there was a group of us who traveled together everywhere. He could always make you laugh. His weapon was sarcasm. At first I thought this guy hated me - always had a comment about my hair or anything for that matter. What I came to realize was that was his way. He loved music (especially "The Who"), played guitar and sang. His guitar teacher is one of my best friends. I spent many nights with his sisters at a bar in South Jersey drinking and dancing to the music of "Nightwing".
We'd seen each other over the later years, usually at family functions, and he'd never changed. Always the same. It wasn't until I moved to Tennessee and he found me on Facebook that our relationship took on a whole new dimension. We began with a chat and I said something about an old friend of ours and he reminded me that that was not a "Christian" thing to say. I stopped dead in my tracks.
The next day, the phone rang. It was Sal. We talked for hours. We caught up on many years and then the subject turned to religion. He told me how deeply "The Passion of the Christ" hit him. He told me how he'd never realized the pain and suffering our Lord endured for us. This man, who made me swear an oath of secrecy, told me that he cried when they scourged Jesus and when He was nailed to the cross.
His belief in Jesus, His faith in God amazed me. Yes, we were all raised Catholic, made all our sacraments and raised our children the same way. But there were limits to our knowledge and belief system and gaps in our lives that could only be filled by reading the Bible.
In that one phone call, I found a new friend. I found an adult who was caring for his father and doing his best to get along in the world. We met up a few times while I was home that summer for my daughter's graduation and laughed.
Last night, God called him home. He leaves behind four sisters, two sons and many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews and a multitude of friends. He leaves a legacy. A legacy that each of us has the opportunity to walk through the gates of Paradise, through the forgiveness granted us by God through Jesus Christ.
"This song is over, I'm left with only tears, I must remember, even if it takes a million years" (Pete Townsend).