This Sunday, August 5th, is my brother Mark’s birthday. I have three brothers and four sisters, so there’s often a birthday of a sibling, in-law, niece, or nephew to remember. But I remember Mark’s birthday with both celebration and sadness. You see, Mark died after a brief battle with cancer in May 2014. If he had lived, he’d be turning 48.
Losing Mark hit me hard, of course. I’m his big sister and I couldn’t protect him or take away his hurt as I did when he was small. Our family’s loss was Mark’s gain, but I also gained a better perspective on life and what really matters.
In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life” (Mark 6:27). Sure, I work to help put food on my family’s table, but how I use my time, talents, and resources is now more often to contribute to endeavors that truly make a lasting difference and that will help get me to Heaven someday—where I’ll be united with my Lord and reunited with my brother.
We pray that you find your work of forming young people in the faith, whether in your home or classroom, a labor of love that “endures for eternal life”—your own and that of the children whose lives you touch.
Photo credit: Submitted image of Joan’s brother Mark