Every month, Connections offers stories, images, reflections and meditations relating to the themes of each Sunday’s readings.  Material comes from the evening news and the every day, from the stage and screen, from the music world and the marketplace – all designed to help homilists “connect” the world of Monday through Saturday with the Gospel proclaimed on Sunday.

To give you an idea of what Connections is all about, we’ve assembled the following sampling of stories, meditations and 'connecting' reflections from recent issues of Connections:

22nd Sunday of the Year /14th Sunday after Pentecost – September 3, 2023
23rd Sunday of the Year /15th Sunday after Pentecost – September 10, 2023
24th Sunday of the Year /16th Sunday after Pentecost – September 17, 2023
25th Sunday of the Year /17th Sunday after Pentecost – September 24, 2023

26th Sunday of the Year / 18th Sunday after Pentecost  [October 1, 2023]
27th Sunday of the Year / 19th Sunday after Pentecost  [October 8, 2023]
28th Sunday of the Year / 20th Sunday after Pentecost  [October 15, 2023]
29th Sunday of the Year / 21st Sunday after Pentecost  [October 22, 2023]
30th Sunday of the Year / 22nd Sunday after Pentecost  [October 29, 2020]

Please note that, in every issue of Connections, we offer TWO stories/meditations for each Sunday’s Gospel.

After reviewing this “electronic sampler,” if you’d like information on subscribing – or receiving the next complete issue of ConnectionsCLICK HERE for subscription information and an order form.


22nd Sunday of the Year [A] /14th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 17A]

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 16: 21-2

Expanding the cast of your life’s “play”

In his book Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned about Life, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner tells of a meeting with a member of his congregation. 

“Rabbi, tell me why I should go on living.”

Rabbi Kushner did not know the woman well — she and her husband were occasional worshippers at the synagogue.  There were no medical issues or financial problems; her two sons were grown, but neither had a serious girlfriend, so no weddings were in the offing; she had had a job until a couple of years before but had been laid off. 

“It’s just that I feel that most of the nice things that will ever happen to me have already happened and that I have nothing to look forward to.”

The rabbi struggled with how to respond.  Clearly, she was bored — but he couldn’t tell her that.  He had counselled the chronically ill, the seriously injured, and the dying with reasons to wake up every morning and look forward to the new day.  But he had never counseled someone who didn’t want to go on living because she found life boring.

Rabbi Kushner writes:

“I pointed out that if her life was lacking in drama, it might be because she was operating with a limited cast of characters: herself, a husband, and two children.  She had spoken about her husband and two sons, but were there no other family members, no friends, no organizations she belonged to . . . ? 

“‘The other thing that concerned me about what you said to me,’ I told her, ‘was it was all about what other people were or were not doing for you, and that is something you don’t have a lot of control over.  I didn’t hear anything about what you were doing with or for others, yet that might be the exact thing to start changing, the easiest way to feel better about your life.

“‘I’ve been a rabbi a long time,’ I told her.  ‘I’ve dealt with a lot of people who were hurting — women whose husbands had died or had left their marriage, people grieving the death of a child or the loss of a job, people whose deteriorating health left them unable to do the things they once enjoyed.  In every case, I gave them one rule and it almost always worked: the best way to feel better about yourself is to find someone to help . . .

“‘You came here,’ I told the woman in my office, ‘asking why you should go on living.  I can’t give you a compelling answer.  I can only give you advice born of my own experience, which has probably been very different than yours.  But I can tell you this with one hundred percent confidence:  Stick with life, let more people into your life, learn to care for them.  Leave them grateful for having known you . . . ”

Rabbi Kushner doesn’t know how the story ended.  He stepped down from his position as rabbi not long after that.  He never heard from her or about her since, “but at least I didn’t see the woman’s name on an obituary page.”

“If I were presented with the same challenge again, I would give the same answer.  The best cure for feeling down on your own life is to reach out to help someone else.  I’ve never known it to fail.  And the best prescription for adding joy to your own life is to share your life with others.  You will increase the happiness of your own life by sharing their happy times in addition to your own.”

Christ urges us to “lose” that part of our life that is centered in ephemeral, perishable things so that we may “gain” lives grounded in the love of God: to lose our anger, our disappointment, our need for control in order to find meaning and purpose in doing for others and contributing to the common good.  In “dying” to ourselves we become something greater; in letting go of the temporary and the fleeting we become richer; in the suffering we endure we become stronger, in the failures we experience we become wiser.  Grace is to discover the fullness of what our lives can be in “losing” our self-centeredness and discovering our lives’ joy in seeking happiness and blessedness for those we love.  

23rd Sunday of the Year [A] /15th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 18A]

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone . . . If he does not listen, take two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church . . .
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18: 15-20

An “exceptional” church

She lived in the group home next to the church.  She was painfully overweight; her clothing didn’t fit.  She hadn’t bathed and wasn’t able to breathe or move comfortably.  Her medication made it difficult for her to follow the prayers and hymns.  She fell asleep during sermons; her snoring, escalated by her breathing problems, echoed through the church.  Once or twice she even forgot where she was and lit up a cigarette right there in the pew.  She wouldn’t speak or make eye contact with anyone.

Parishioners began to complain: She doesn’t belong here.  She couldn’t be getting anything out of it so heavily medicated.  She shouldn’t be allowed to ruin it for everyone.   The poor woman was the subject of more than one parish council meeting:  Her presence was a serious distraction; she was a deterrent to visitors.  And someone noted that she ate too many cookies at coffee hour.

Finally, one council member had had enough of the complaining and lack of compassion.  She was determined to make a friend out of their troubled visitor.  The parishioner left her usual pew and began to sit next to her.  When the snoring started, the parishioner gave her a gentle nudge; she helped her find her place in the hymnal; she quietly reminded her to put the cigarettes away and leave enough cookies and sweets for others during the coffee hour after church.

The parishioner’s unheralded kindness was all the visitor needed.  She began talking to people.  She made eye contact and made a point of shaking hands with the pastor:  “Bless you,” she would say.

A few months later, the pastor received a phone call from the woman’s social worker.  The social worker explained that the woman had never been accepted by any group or able to sustain a single positive relationship until she started coming to church.  She was now making friends in her group home and had begun to bring them to her church.

“Thank you for welcoming her,” the social worker said to the pastor.  “I’ve never been to your church, but I know that it is an exceptional place.”

After hanging up the phone, the pastor sat for a moment, pondering that word:  Exceptional.

[From an essay by Erica Wimber Avena in The Christian Century, January 4, 2017.]

In this difficult situation, one parishioner manages to embrace the spirit of Jesus’ instructions in today’s Gospel: that to follow Jesus means to take on the hard work of building community by welcoming the stranger, the disrupter, the estranged.  In today’s Gospel (which sounds more like a set of regulations devised by a church rules committee than a teaching of Jesus), Jesus calls us to take on his work of reconciliation: work that is grounded in love for the other, work what begins with respect and love for every human being, work that seeks God’s justice and peace above all.  Gospel-centered reconciliation confronts those misunderstandings and issues that divide us, grieve us and embitter us, not out of anger or a need to “even the score,” but out of a commitment to imitate the great love and mercy of God.    

24th Sunday of the Year [A] / 16th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 19A]

The parable of the unforgiving debtor:  “‘Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’
“So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives one another from your heart.”
Matthew 18: 21-35

Immaculee Ilibagiza

For decades, the Hutu and Tutsi tribes in the African nation of Rwanda were constantly at war.  In 1994, in the wake of the assassination of the nation’s president, an extremist Hutu group organized the extermination of the Tutsi people.  Over one million Rwandans were murdered over the next 100 days; most were Tutsis killed in their own towns by their neighbors and fellow villagers.

Immaculee Ilibagiza was an 18-year-old student, a member of the Tutsi tribe, when the genocide began.  Her father sent her to hide in the house of a neighbor, a Hutu pastor.  There she hid in a bathroom for the next ninety days.  Despite almost being discovered several times, she survived.  Her parents and brother did not.

In those horrific days of hiding, she was consumed with anger and hate for being stuck in that bathroom, for the state of her country, for the loss endured by so many of her people — and, she would later learn, the slaughter of her family.  She imagined the violence she would inflict on the killers.  But over time, she saw that her hatred was the very source of the horror that consumed her country.  She realized that “anger and hatred become a sickness.”

When the genocide was finally suppressed, a new government initiated a program of reconciliation.  Immaculee committed herself to working to unite her country through forgiveness.

One of the most dramatic moments in Immaculée’s journey toward forgiveness came when she went to the jail to see the man who had killed her mother.  Her family knew Felicien; he had been a respected member of her village.  She describes waiting for the jailers to bring Felicien into the room:  “I wasn’t quite sure whether I was still going to feel forgiving toward him — I might look at him and change my mind.” But once they were face to face, she said, “the forgiveness all became normal.”  She asked Felicien: “How can you have done this?  Killing so many people, you can’t be at peace.”  In rags, Felicien seemed small and confused — he did not fully comprehend what he had done.  “I wanted to reach out to him,” she said. “I cried, and then he himself started to cry.”

The official in charge of the jail, a Tutsi who was a survivor like Immaculée, witnessed the meeting.  The official became angry at Immaculee: “How can you do this, forgive the killer of your own mother?  Are you crazy?”  He had given her permission to slap Felicien and spit on him, but she refused. 

Immaculee replied that she saw Felicien as a blind man who didn’t know what he had done.  “All I wanted to do was give him to God.” 

Her act of forgiveness had a profound effect on the official.  Later, when Immaculee was working at the United Nations office in Rwanda, the official came to see her.  “You don’t know what you did to me, when you went to the jail and forgave Felicien,” he told her.  “I was shocked.”  But he had learned from her encounter with Felicien the necessity for forgiveness.

[From Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza; The Gift of Forgiveness by Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt; “A Survivor’s Story: Immaculee Ilibagiza’s passage to forgiveness” by George M. Anderson, America, November 23, 2009.]

Immaculee Ilibagiza writes that she learned two things from her journey to forgiveness: that any hope for the restoration of community and peace begins with forgiveness and that forgiveness begins with recognizing the humanity and suffering endured by the person needing to be forgiven.  The unforgiving steward understands neither.  As Immaculee discovered, forgiveness requires empathy, the ability to place ourselves in the place of the other to see the situation from the perspective of their pain and brokenness.  To realize the reconciling peace of Jesus begins with overcoming our own anger and outrage at the injustice waged against us and focusing our concern, instead, on the person who wronged us and ruptured our relationship with him/her — and possessing the humility to face the hurt we have inflicted on others as a result of our insensitivity and self-centeredness.  In our awkward, bumbling and painful efforts at forgiving and seeking forgiveness, God is part of the encounter.  

25th Sunday of the Year [A] / 17th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 20A]

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”
Matthew 18: 15-20

Small ”c” church

On a business trip to South America, he visited a small church in one of the poor barrios.  He was deeply moved by what he saw: the joy-filled faith of these families despite the overwhelming poverty of their daily lives.  When he returned home, he was telling some friends after Mass about what he had seen.  The group wondered what they could do to help, so they contacted the pastor of the barrio parish.  The priest expressed gratitude for any help, especially for the parish’s school and small clinic.  So the group collected school and medical supplies and shipped them; next they gathered up blankets and clothes; now they are raising money to dig a new well for the community.  They see themselves as just a group of friends doing what they are able to do for their South American brothers and sisters.  But, in truth, they are being church.

It’s known as “the list” — names and telephone numbers of folks in the parish who can be called day or night.  An elderly parishioner needs a ride to the doctor?  Call Susan.  The young couple struggling through her difficult pregnancy?  Sheila and Pat will make sure they have supper and groceries this week.  The one car of a family whose parents have been out of work for some time breaks down?  Neil knows what to do.  It is more than a list of numbers.  It is church.

When they were in grammar school, they participated in the parish’s vacation religious education program every summer and always had a great time.  Now that they are in high school, they return every July to serve as leaders and counselors — and often become big brothers and big sisters to the kids.  The adults who are responsible for the week’s program will tell you immediately that these teens make the program go.  They are more than a terrific group of generous teenagers.  They are church.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the “church” — not the institutional capital ‘C’ Church, but the lower-case ‘c’ church that is you and I, human beings who struggle to follow Jesus.  That is the important lesson of today’s Gospel: the ability of individuals who come together as disciples, inspired by the Gospel Jesus, to accomplish great works of compassion, reconciliation, healing and justice.  May the grace of God bring us together, even just two or three of us, in Jesus’ name, enabling us to mirror God’s love in our midst.    

26th Sunday of the Year [A] / 18th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 21A]

The parable of the two sons:  “Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.  When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.”
Matthew 21: 28-32

“The Poisonwood Bible”

In Barbara Kingsolver’s haunting novel The Poisonwood Bible, Nathan Price is a Baptist minister from Georgia who uproots his family on an ill-advised mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.  The Reverend Price is convinced that God has called him to convert Africa, but his ferocious and arrogant self-righteousness dooms his mission from the start (a mission church leaders did not support).  He refuses to understand how his obsession with river baptism is an affront to the traditions of the villagers of Kilanga — the natives have no interest in rushing toward salvation in the next life by bathing with crocodiles in this one.  The people listen politely on Sunday mornings as he rails against sin and denounces their pagan ways, but they carry on their faith in their village’s “personal gods.”  In his rigid, unyielding preaching and blindness to the realities of Congolese culture, the preacher’s mission is a complete and utter failure; his proclamation of the “good news” instead brings misery and destruction.

But it becomes painfully clear to Nathan’s long-suffering wife Orleanna and their four daughters that the Congolese are not savages who need saving.  In the harsh conditions of their existence, the people of Kilanga possess a tangible sense of God’s grace in their lives.  The Price women see it in the village’s warm welcome to them when they first arrive.  The villagers understand immediately how unprepared and ill-equipped the Prices are for living in the Congo.  Throughout the family’s stay in Kilanga, the villagers reach out to them, teaching them and readily giving to them from their dire poverty, enabling the floundering Americans to survive the unrelenting heat, the harsh rains, the constant want, the dangerous political situation.

For Orleanna and her four daughters, the black-and-white certainty of their religion is deeply shaken by their experience in Africa.  In the end, it’s the American Christians who are transformed by the African experience.  In the course of the family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction, the “pagan”  African villagers they have come to “save” reveal to them the compassion, generosity and respect of the God of all.

Jesus’ simple story of the two sons takes the Gospel out of the realm of the “theoretical” and places the mercy of God right in the middle of our busy, complicated everyday lives.  Compassion, forgiveness and mercy are only words until our actions give full expression to those values in our relationships with others; our simply calling ourselves disciples of Jesus mean nothing until our lives express that identity in the values and beliefs we uphold.  The words of the Gospel must be lived; Jesus’ teachings on justice, reconciliation and love must be the light that guides us, the path we walk, the prayer we work to make a reality.  Discipleship begins within our hearts, where we realize Christ’s presence in our lives and in the lives of others and then honoring that presence in real and meaningful acts of compassion and charity.     

27th Sunday of the Year [A] / 19th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 22A]

The parable of the vineyard owner’s son:  “The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will produce its fruits.”
Matthew 21: 33-43

The curse of the monster watermelons

Once upon a time, there was a man who traveled to a strange land.  There he saw people fleeing in horror from a wheat field.  There was a horrible monster in the field!  they screamed.  The traveler went into the field himself and found the monster – a watermelon.  The villagers had never seen a watermelon before.  Trying to be kind, he offered to “kill” the monster for them.  He hacked the melon off the vine and then cut a slide and began to eat it.  The people became even more terrified of the traveler.  He will eat us too! they cried, and then drive him off with their pitchforks.

Some time later, another traveler to same village found himself confronted by the same “monster.”  But instead of offering to “kill” the monster, he told the villagers that it must be dangerous and tiptoed away from it.  Gaining the confidence of the villagers, the second traveler was able to teach the villagers some elementary horticultural facts about the “monster” in their midst.  The villagers lost their fear of the melons and began to cultivate them for food.

The first traveler, while trying to help the villagers, only intensified their fear; his knowledge became even more powerful and terrifying to the villagers.

But the second traveler was a man of compassion: he entered into their fears, suffered with them, and then was able to help them rise above their fears.

[Based on a story told by Rev. Henri J.M. Nouwen.]

In the person of his Son, God enters the human experience.  He lives our lives, embraces our fears and hardships, and shows us to transform and re-create our lives in his love.  Faith is not a power bestowed on an self-elected elite nor is God a cudgel we swing to impose our sense of right and wrong on others; faith is the awareness of God’s presence in our lives, a presence that should humble us with gratitude and inspire us with hope to continue our journey to the dwelling place of God.

28th Sunday of the Year [A] / 20th Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 23A]

“‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.“  Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.  The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them . . .      

“But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.  The king said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’  But he was reduced to silence.”
Matthew 22: 1-14

A work bench and a quilt for the wedding feast

It’s one of his first memories growing up: the Saturday his father made the workbench.  He was five and played with scraps of wood nearby while his dad masterfully cut and planed every piece of wood, then assembled the legs, the tabletop, and a lower shelf, and finished by painting it a bluish gray.  Even though it was a work bench, it was, in itself, a work of beauty.

For almost 30 years the bench was the center of Dad’s basement workshop.  On that bench, his dad fixed broken appliances, repaired bicycles and toys, maintained their house’s electric and plumbing systems, and built whatever was needed, from bookcases to Adirondack chairs.  Whatever the problem or repair needed, his father knew exactly what to do and had the right tool to fix it — tools meticulously kept in perfect working order.

When his parents closed down their big house last year, the bench came to his house, along with the red case — old, but in perfect condition — filled with Dad’s tools.  Although it’s scratched and gouged and marked from all the projects it has seen, the bench is still as solid as that Saturday his father built it — and still, in its own way, a thing of beauty

It’s more than just an old bench.  It’s a legacy of work and skill given in love by a good man to his family.  The son now hopes he can be as good a steward of the work bench.

The quilt lays on their big bed.  It was made by her grandmother as a wedding gift: simple pieces of cloth skillfully sewn together to create the beautiful quilt in a traditional “rolling star” pattern.  The quilt keeps them warm on blustery winter nights; they snuggle in it while watching a movie or reading; it bundles up the whole family when the kids crawl in with them on Sunday mornings.  The quilt is a piece of art that will be handed down for generations to come, but it’s more than something beautiful: it’s love in pieces of fabric, love that embraces its creator’s family in warmth and safety.

A father’s workbench becomes a sign of loving service and responsibility for the next generation; a handmade quilt becomes the very embrace of the quilter’s love and care.  Humility and selflessness are the tools that build and repair and create a home; grace is the thread that transforms a collection of squares of cloth into something beautiful.  They’re all manifestations of joy and optimism, of kindness and generosity, of gratitude and respect, that become our “garment” for God’s wedding banquet, a feast that begins in our own homes and workplaces, at our own tables and benches.  God’s invitation to every one of us should inspire us to make our lives a “proper garment” that expresses our love and care in ways that will live on after we have taken our place at God’s wedding feast. 

29th Sunday of the Year [A] / 21st Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 24A]

[Jesus] said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?"
They replied, “Caesar’s."
At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.”
Matthew 22: 15-21

A patient’s worth, in billing codes

A psychiatrist writes about the dollars-and-cents side of treating patients:

“A patient wants solutions; at least, he wants attentiveness.  He is preoccupied with the failings of his life. 

“But I’m preoccupied, too: with counting.  If I document one element of his family or social history in the electronic medical record, it’s considered ‘pertinent,’ but two ‘established elements’ — or three ‘new elements’ — are ‘complete’ and worth more.  One-to-five findings on the psychiatric exam are ‘problem-focused,’ but if there are six, the exam becomes ‘expanded problem focused,’ which is also worth more.  Reviewing old records is two data points, but reviewing lab tests only one.  Counting, counting.

“These numbers add up to a billing code; these billing codes add up to Medicare reimbursement.  You combine history complexity plus examination bullets plus medical decision-making plus risk, and out of the confusion an accurate code is supposed to pop clearly into view.”

The doctor keeps a crib sheet on a corner of her desk: a list of key components of the Current Procedural Terminology codes.  It’s a kind of “scorecard” she must use to determine what treatment will or will not be covered by a patient’s insurance.

While such formulas are necessary to check charts for Medicare fraud, this doctor worries that sometimes she becomes distracted in treating her patients, becoming more concerned with listening for the “worth” of their diagnosis rather than the key to their healing.

[From “A patient’s worth, in billing codes” by Dr. Elissa Ely, The Boston Globe, August 3, 2013.]

We seek surety in numbers; we look for black and white answers to complex questions.  We devise formulas to define every set of circumstances; we depend on society’s structures and institutions — government, medicine, education, business — to set clear, indisputable rules to decide complex issues and situations once and for all.  But God transcends the lines we have drawn and the boundaries we have set up in order to make sense of our lives.  God calls us to realize his hand in all things, his spirit making all things whole and good, his vision creating a human family united in his peace, justice and mercy.  We cannot put a “price tag” on compassion; we cannot assign a value to forgiveness; we cannot measure or limit the justice and peace of God.  In the love of God, we come to understand our shared responsibility to provide for the common good and protect the most vulnerable among us.  

30th Sunday of the Year [A] / 22nd Sunday after Pentecost  [Prop. 25A]

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the greatest and the first commandment.  The second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22: 34-40

The definition of hope

In March 2008 Christopher Gregory died suddenly from a ruptured aneurism.  He was 19 years old.

His parents were devastated.  In the awful, bewildering hours following their son’s death, they were asked to consider donating his organs.  But Chris had already answered that question: just the week before he had innocently mentioned that he wished to be a donor.  Their decision to donate simply affirmed their son’s generosity.

Three months later, they received a letter:  “I cannot possibly imagine the grief caused by your loss,” it read.  “Certainly, there are no words anyone can say or write to extinguish that pain.  Nevertheless, you have shared with me the grandest gift I will ever receive — the gift of life.”

Chris’ parents eventually met the writer whose life was saved by their son’s lungs.  They would go on to meet the four other people who were given second chances by Christopher’s gift.  Chris’ mom and dad have since become advocates for the Donor Network of Arizona.

Chris’ father, Eric, writes in America Magazine [June 12, 2017]:  “The experience of losing Christopher, but knowing his death meant life for five others, changed me in ways I never thought possible.  I learned that it’s possible to see God in all things, even tragedy.  The more I learned about the science of organ transplantation, the more confident I have become in the existence of God.  I learned that the butterfly effect is real, that something as seemingly inconsequential as checking a box while applying for a driver’s license can have a tremendous effect years later and miles away . . . Most of all, in the face of division and distrust in the world today, I learned that how we treat one another matters.  If the heart of a 19-year-old white boy beating inside the chest of a 65-year-old black man does not give us hope, then I do not know what hope is.”

To love with our whole heart and soul and mind enables us to move beyond our fears and hurts in order to comfort, to forgive, to welcome back.  Jesus reveals the mystery of the God of Supreme and Omnipotent Power loving his creation so completely and so selflessly — and all that God seeks in return is that such love be shared by his people throughout his creation.  The generosity of heart of people like Chris and those who make possible the gift of organ donations is centered in the love of the “great commandment” of Jesus’ Gospel: to love with the same selfless compassion, care and completeness of God who created us.