"Observing the boldness of Peter and John and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men, the leaders, elders and scribes were amazed, and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus."
"It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard."
He's been coming in the bookstore for many years telling us stories about and showing us pictures of the amazing ways that God has blessed his life. He constantly and continually shares stories of the love of Christ as well as the love of His Mother. He tells stories of times shared with his son as fog lifted from a mountain or with his wife together in Eucharistic Adoration or with other pilgrims in Medjugorje or Garabandal or Guadalupe. He tells of the countless number of books he has read and shares the messages and his thoughts. I believe him to be a holy man.
Close to Christmas, I answered the phone and could hardly understand the voice on the other end. He needed to order a few books for his wife. Hadn't I noticed that he had not been in the store lately? His mouth and tongue and throat were still a mess from surgery and radiation and chemo, best I could understand. He'd been fighting cancer of the throat. We made it through the conversation and I promised to pray. Another call closer to Christmas to check on the books and to report tiny progress. One more call to thank me for their safe arrival.
Friday, he stood in my midst. He asked, "Do you recognize me?" "Of course I do." We were busy but never too busy to listen to him. As usual, a fascinating story. Him being taken down but not out. The amazing faith of the holy man who shared the realization that there are so many people worse off than him. This man whose throat was still completely shut down stood and told about blessings and about love and about faith. He spoke of being humbled and as so many times before, all I could do was listen and try to hold back tears.
As I sat with the above verses from the Saturday readings, I realized just how much this ordinary man always seemed to leave me and the others in the store amazed. I recognized him as a companion of Jesus. I understood that even though the illness of this world had tried to stop his speech, it was, it is impossible for him not to speak about what he has seen and heard.