Dr. David Cerqueira relates this story: “Sarah was a second grader, full of energy and beaming with naughtiness. As Sarah’s Sunday school teacher, my wife provided me with many funny stories of Sarah’s latest antics. Everyone at church seemed to like her.
“One Sunday my wife taught that usefulness is serving God, and that doing so is worthy of honour. Sarah spoke up. ‘Teacher, what can I do? I don’t know how to do too many useful things.’
“My wife spotted an empty vase on the window sill. ‘Sarah, you can bring a flower and put it in the vase. That would be a useful thing.’
“Sarah frowned. ‘But that’s not important.’ ‘It is,’ replied my wife, ‘if you are helping someone.’
“Next Sunday Sarah brought a dandelion and placed it in the vase. She continued to do so, Sunday after Sunday. One week the pastor gave a sermon on the honour of serving others, using Sarah’s vase as an example. The congregation was touched by the message.
“One day from Sarah’s mother called, worried about Sarah. After a battery of tests I sat numbly in my office. Leukemia was attacking her small body.
“I explained to Sarah’s parents that nothing could be done. Time passed. Sarah became confined to bed. Finally, she was a small bundle that barely moved. I knew she would soon be leaving us.
“Sunday morning church started as usual. At the end of the sermon, the pastor suddenly stopped speaking. His eyes wide, he stared at the back of the church. There was Sarah, for one last visit. She was bundled in a blanket, a dandelion in one little hand.
“She slowly walked to the front of the church and put her flower in the vase with a piece of paper.
“Four days later, Sarah died. The pastor visited me. Pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket he said, ‘You’d better keep this; it may help you in your line of work.’
“I opened the folded paper and read, in pink crayon:
This vase has been the biggest honour of my life.
What is more precious than silver or gold? In Acts 3:6 St Peter says, “I have neither silver nor gold, but what I have I give to you…” Then he cures the sick man in the name of Jesus Christ.
The mystery of Christ’s love deepened on the night before His death when He took bread and wine and said “This is my body and this is my blood. Eat this and drink this in my memory”.
In a Holy Thursday reflection Father Rudy Novecosky expresses what Jesus meant in these words: “By taking bread and wine, I want you to understand that my love and my service for all of you, and for all of us, is so great that I willingly let my body be broken for you and my blood be shed for you.”
“And I want you to do the same,” Novecosky continues. “This is what parents do for their children. They take their body and break it for their children out of love for them. They take the cup of their blood and empty it for the sake of their children. Jesus says this is the way for all Christians.”
Christians serve each other. That is our greatest task and honour. Every day, in every moment, let us bring Jesus into our relationships.