They say a picture is worth 1000 words. I take a lot of photos on my phone camera of events and activities at our parish. I put the photos on our church facebook and in our bulletin. There is a feature on my phone that does facial recognition. In my prayer I pulled up the pictures of David. I have 108 of them. Each one is worth 1000 words so I just wanted to mention some of them because I think they capture the essence of our beloved David.
The first photo I have comes from our first youth group ever. Sept 17, 2017. Sr. Joan and I decided to start a youth group and that was the first meeting. I was the new kid on the block. I remember thinking, “is anyone going to come?” I had some anxiety about it. David came up after Mass that day and gave me a bear hug and said, “I can’t wait for youth group tonight.” And there was David. He hardly ever missed in the years that have followed. He would always ask what the plans were for youth group. He would let us know if he thought the weather wasn’t favorable to be outside. He loved youth group. As I looked at the pictures, I saw him at NCYC, baseball game trips, lock ins, a drive in movie, Holiday World, pumpkin chunkin’s, water kickball nights. The youth group was his family. Thank you to the youth who are here today. He was always there for you – thank you for being here for him today. You are a big part his life, of his family!
Then there were pictures of him at the annual server trip. He loved serving Mass. I will never forget the Sunday that Cameron and him picked a fight in the sanctuary. David was kind of like me in the sense that he only had one volume: on. When he would whisper questions to me in the sanctuary, I think people could hear him in the back row. David loved serving God at Mass. He loved the times he got to serve with you Maddie.
A lot of the photos I have of David serving outside of the Mass too. So many pictures on my phone picture David carrying things. He would storm up to ask Sr. Joan or Billy or me or whoever else, “I’ll take that for you.” Most recently, I got a few photos of him carrying items off the school bus for the Afghan reugees at Camp Atterbury. I’ve got pictures of him at fundraisers, painting the youth room, pancake breakfasts, serving the Pastor’s Gaudeamus. He would without fail always storm over and say, “Do you need any help?” He loved working SVDP society. He always wanted to be helpful, to be useful. And he was. He was scheduled to be the usher at Mass the day he died. He would always get me in touch with his father whenever there was the smallest problem with the school bus. When things get bad, they say, look for the people who help and you’ll feel better. That was David. Always David.
I’ve got pictures of David talking with people. He knew how to make a nobody feel like a somebody. I don’t think I ever heard David say anything mean spirited about anyone. He didn’t know how. He always seemed to know if someone wasn’t feeling well, if someone was hurting or upset in any way. He would come over and say, “Father, you should go talk to ___, they seem a little sad.” He had an antenna for such things. If he were physically here with us now, he would jump in front of us and say, “Why are you all crying so hard??” David loved people. He loved us. I can’t tell you how many times he told me, “I love you Father.” A high school boy. He greeted everyone at Mass and took joy in being there for people. David didn’t know a stranger. He treated everyone as his mother or grandmother or father or brother or sister….
I also have a few pictures of David at Brute Seminary, where he came with me on a “hang out at the seminary” evening once or twice. I remember one time he said to me, “I don’t think they’d ever take me as a priest, but all I want to do is serve God.” All David wanted to do was what God wanted.
A picture is worth 1000 words. Close your eyes for a second and take a moment to call to mind a picture of David in your head and listen to what words he might have for you right now.
Life on earth is short. All these photos that I’ve spoken of and that you have called to mind show a beautiful young man, a beautiful life, filled with family and friends and God. We are thankful to God for giving David to us. We ought to follow his example in treating every moment as special, every person as special.
YES, Life on earth is short – but life in heaven is eternal. David believed that with his whole heart. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. David entered his eternal life on All Saints Day, the day we celebrate the souls of our beloved in heaven. His life did not end when he took his last breath; it only changed. He got a new address. Death is only an event for the faithful Catholic, an event in an eternal life. David lives on..in Christ, who is the Resurrection and the Life!!! And just as he touched our lives so much during his life on earth, he will continue to touch our lives in heaven!
David would be first to tell you that academics weren’t easy for him. But there is a final exam and we heard about it in the Gospel, in Matthew 25 today at Mass. “I was hungry, and you gave me food…” The question is: did you love? That is the final exam. There were 1000 people at Glenn George who can answer a resounding YES. I have no doubt in my mind that David passed his final exam with flying colors.
David, rest in peace my friend. We love you so much. Pray for us, watch over us, continue to touch our lives with your love.