Sister Melannie Svoboda, a school sister of Notre Dame, tells the following story in her book, Rummaging for God – a rather appropriate title as many of you will be rummaging at our garage sale this week. . . Anyway – Sister Melannie writes:
Beth and Cora, twin girls were born twelve weeks early. As was standard hospital practice at the time – the little girls were place in separate incubators in the PICU: the pediatric intensive care unit.
Cora, the larger twin at two pounds three ounces, quickly began to gain weight.
But little Beth, weighing only two pounds, had breathing and heart problems. Two weeks after birth, Beth’s condition became critical.
The doctors and nurses did everything they could to stabilize Beth. They suctioned her airway, and increased her flow of oxygen. But Beth just squirmed restlessly and her heartbeat soared.
It was then that one of the nurses remembered reading about a procedure common in parts of Europe – that called for putting newborn twins in the same incubator.
The nurse secured the permission of the twins’ parents to try the procedure.
She placed little Beth alongside her sister Cora.
No sooner had she closed the door to the incubator than Beth snuggled up to Cora. Immediately she calmed down. Within minutes her blood-oxygen level was the best it had been since her birth. Within days, Beth was gaining weight. Eventually both babies were healthy and strong enough to go home. Today, more and more hospitals are adopting the practice of the double-bedding of premature twins. . .
In the Gospel, Jesus appoints 72 people to carry the Good News of the Gospel to every town and place he intended to visit – and he sends them out not alone — but in pairs: two by two he sends them. . .
I want to strongly suggest that Jesus knew we draw great strength and support from those
with whom we share a common journey. . .
And I think that’s why the Church, in its wisdom, requires us to have godparents at Baptism, a sponsor for Confirmation, why a couple wanting to get married in the Church is sent to a lead couple as part of their preparation and why newly ordained priests spend a year or two in a parish with a seasoned pastor – because the Church also knows we draw great strength and support from those with whom we share a common journey.
During these Sundays of Ordinary Time – as we journey with Jesus to Jerusalem— making his mission our mission: bringing glad tidings to the poor, proclaiming liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and allowing the oppressed to go free:
We have to stay focused on Jesus – and not on the things of the world —– and we have to remember that we do not journey alone – in fact, we cannot journey alone – we need the care and support of one another.
Perhaps that is just another way of reminding us that because we are created in the image and likeness of the God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – we long to be in love, to be in relationship, and to be in community. We are who we are because God is – who God is. . .
So let’s be ever thankful for our families – who more than likely first gave us the gift of faith — be thankful for this community of St. Patrick that surrounds us Sunday after Sunday and with whom we get to worship — and be thankful for those special people — spouses, friends, pastors, religious and relatives, godparents and sponsors — who God has sent to be our traveling companions in faith —- as we journey to Jerusalem together.