Friday, April 08, 2005

The Back of the Line

Over 4 million people in attendace; 200 world leaders; folks of every faith (and none) sitting side by side for 3+ hours; at least 800,000 folks gather for a mass in his native home town of Krakow; billions, probably, watching on televions or the internet, listening on radios.

An amazing funeral, an unbelievable tribute to a man who touched millions and millions of lives - especially young people. A witness to the power of one person of strong faith to minister to people in a way most of us only dare dream about.

And yet, as powerful a figure as he was; as many lives as he touched; as many prayers that he offered for the world; as tireless a worker for human rights and peace as he was, I have a feeling that when John Paul II got to heaven's door, he was not granted first place in line.

If the gospels are correct, the position of honor may have gone to a little girl who shattered her parent's hearts with her innocence when she was born, and left a hole in them when she died of cancer.

If the gospels are correct, the first person in line may have been a 75-year-old survivor of Dachau, who spent the rest of his life telling his story, so that the horror would never be repeated.

If Jesus was correct when he talked about the least, the last, the lost, the little, then the gates open first for all those unknowns who quietly shared their love for their families; for all those mothers who placed their childrens' needs before their own dreams; for all those fathers who worked 2 and 3 jobs so their families could have the simple basics of life; for all those nameless, courageous, faithful people who tried their best to treat everyone fairly, who loved everyone equally, who followed God trustingly.

All those people who have been forgotten by the press, the politicians, the multitudes . . .

. . . but not by God.

(c) 2005 Thom M. Shuman

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