We continue this Sunday in our
exploration of St.
account of the Last Supper discourse of Jesus to his apostles, a discourse which the
author has compiled both from the words Jesus must have said many years before the Gospel
was written down and mystical/theological reflections on the words of Jesus. The tone of
the discourse is bittersweet. On the one hand Jesus is saying farewell to his followers
who will miss him and whom he will miss and on the other hand he is promising them that he
will always be with them through the Holy Spirit and the Fathers love. Besides he
will prepare a place for them where they will once again be happy and together.
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Andrew M. Greeley's
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Another Irish immigrant story: A young
father decided that the only way he could support his wife and their three children was to
leave for America.
He would get a good job there, save his money, send most of it back to his family, and
save the rest so that eventually he could buy them a house and bring them to the Land with
the Golden Door. His wife, his children and his parents begged him not to leave. Well
perish without you, they said. Youll perish with me here, he said. I must go to America
to earn a decent living. Well, they had an American wake for him, a sad party for a man
they never hoped to see again. He survived the journey across the Atlantic,
though many of his fellow passengers died. He survived a long trip to Chicago
and his first days in the Stock Yards. It was a terrible bloody, smelly place to work, but
he could earn more money in a couple of days there than he would in a whole year working
his miserable farm. He sent home a letter every month with money that would keep his whole
family alive. He stayed away from the pubs and ate very little in the crowded boarding
house in which he lived. He went to night school to study accounting and eventually found
a job which paid even more money than the slaughter house. Only a few letters came from
home, because his children were too young to write, his parents didnt know how, and
his heartbroken wife would break down in tears when she tried to scribble a letter. After
five years and several promotions, he had saved enough money to pay their first class
passage to the United
and to buy a cozy house in which his family would live. While he waited for them to come
hoping that they would he decorated and furnished the house. Back home the
wifes mother was urging her not to go to America.
People died on the trip, she said. Youll be taking my grandchildren away. Hes
a real yank now and he wont want country folk like you living in his house. The wife
was torn between two loves, but she finally decided after much delay to risk everything on
the trip to America
and to the husband she still loved, though she couldnt really remember what he
looked like. The trip over was easy in first class as was the train ride to Chicago.
At first none of them recognized the prosperous gentleman in the business suit that
welcomed them when they got off the train. They were astonished by the house
running water, gas lamps, inside heating. Isnt worth waiting for? The husband asked.
You were worth waiting for, his wife replied.