Today, NPR offered a beautiful tribute to Franciscan Father Mychal Judge through the stories of one man who knew him—and one man who didn't. Both were deeply affected by Judge's life and actions. The piece includes an excerpt of the homily given by Father Michael Duffy, also a Franciscan. In the homily, he offered a beautiful tribute to Judge and to the Christian life:
Mychal Judge's body was the first one released from Ground Zero. His death certificate has the number '1' on the top. Of the thousands of people who perished in that terrible holocaust, why was Mychal Judge number one? And I think I know the reason. Mychal's goal and purpose in life was to bring the firemen to the point of death so they would be ready to meet their maker. Mychal Judge could not have ministered to them all. It was physically impossible — in this life.
In the next few weeks, we're going to have name after name of people who are being brought out of that rubble. And Mychal Judge is going to be on the other side of death — to greet them, instead of send them there.
And so, this morning we come to bury Myke Judge's body, but not his spirit. We come to bury his voice, but not his message. We come to bury his hands, but not his good works. We come to bury his heart, but not his love. Never his love.