Saturday, May 02, 2020

Memorial of Saint Athanasius

 Whenever I hear the name “Tabitha” I think of the tv series Bewitched from the 1960’s. Tabitha was the daughter of Samantha and Darren Stevens, and she inherited her mother’s ability to cast “witchly” charms and spells, Samanta being a witch, a good witch at that!! But the name “Tabitha” actually appears in our reading today from Acts of the Apostles, the name given to a widow who has just died. She was known for her love of the poor and care for the grieving.

The people who loved Tabitha discovered that Peter, a disciple of Jesus, was coming through their town, they asked if he would come and pray over the body of Tabitha. He did and she came back to life!!!!! She rose from the dead!!! Peter must have really prayed hard!

The beauty of this story is not in Tabitha’s coming back to life, as monumental as that was, but what she did after coming back to life: she kept on caring for the needy and collecting alms for the poor. She continued in her “risen state” to give of her life. This tugs at our heart and our conscience.

What are WE doing to help those in need? How are WE being compassionate and caring? Our Easter hope is that we are ALL destined to be risen, our bodies and souls being reunited in a transformed and glorious expression of divine beauty. But what are we doing NOW, in this time of wait and preparation ? We can do just what Tabitha did before she died and after she was “raised from the dead” through the prayers of Peter: come out of ourselves and care for others; be compassionate to the vulnerable; get involved in something that is making the world a better place; maybe even watch an episode or two of Bewitched!

Fr. Frank