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The Last Words Of A Scripture Scholar

On the evening before Christ’s Birth, Michael Rieser Via Wikimedia

On the evening before Christ’s Birth, Michael Rieser
Via Wikimedia

Some years ago, a good friend of mine, a Monsignor John O’Connell, died an early death at the age of 37.  A giant of goodness and scholarship in the Chicago Clergy, this humble man, big in physical stature, had acquired an immense knowledge of Holy Scripture in his short life.  Gifted with a splendid mind, Monsignor O’Connell had decided that God’s Word in Holy Scripture had attracted him more than any other field of Priestly work.

So, he gave his mind and heart to this study.  In the process, the Wisdom of the Holy Scriptures had seeped into the well springs of his being, turning him into a loving, good natured person, always enthusiastic about the simple wonders of life.  In his last moments of life, he suddenly sat up in his bed and cried out in a strong, loud voice . . . “Come, Lord Jesus.”  The Book of Revelation, the last Book in the New Testament, has these words in its last chapter.

Of all the thousands of Scripture passages, the priest had studied and meditated on, these simple words . . . “Come, Lord Jesus” came to his lips at the end.  Evidently, the passage had meant much to him in his days of good health.

In the present time of Advent, the heart of the believer cries out . . . “Come, Lord Jesus.”  Seeing the emptiness of one’s days, noticing the inability of material things to bring true happiness and feeling the weakness of the spirit, a follower of Christ senses the need of His Presence.  Boldly, through this scriptural prayer, the Advent pilgrim reaches out for the Friendship of Jesus, born in Bethlehem.

When the short-sighted inn keepers of Bethlehem turned out Mary, the Holy Child and Joseph into the cold on the first Christmas night, they included themselves among those making the world’s worse decisions.  On slamming the door on Christ, they doomed themselves to ignominy in history.

People of faith can swing open their hearts to Christ, the Prince of Peace.  Spoken with sincere faith, the prayer . . . “Come, Lord Jesus”, can bring the Christ of the Gospels into their spirits.  With His Healing Presence the Lord binds up old wounds in a scarred human nature, strengthens holy desires in the spirit, and brings fresh, creative thoughts of God into the mind.  “Come, Lord Jesus.”  So short, so easy to say.

Fr. George Mc Kenna

December 13, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , ,


  1. Fr. George

    Excellent passage, I like the short but impacting phrase.


    Comment by William F. Laude | December 13, 2014 | Reply

  2. Another winning piece. Thank you.

    Comment by barttimm | December 13, 2014 | Reply

  3. Beautiful! Powerful! Such impact on all who read this…the last words of Monsignor O’Connell becomes a prayer for all of us. Thank you Fr. George for your incredible faith-filled life and priesthood. God’s Blessings, Love & Grace Forever, marianne

    Comment by mcs | December 14, 2014 | Reply

  4. Hi Fr. George! I actually responded to this post when you posted it but I guess I did something wrong because I see that it is not hear! But I loved this post! And since reading it, I have said that phrase “Come Lord Jesus” over and over. I especially said it on the 14th of December when Tim was in the Emergency Room!

    He had gone go-kart racing with two friends and developed something called ‘transient global amnesia’. It was very frightening! He was not making sense to his friends and even told them that he felt very confused! The Emergency Room doctor said that he sees this a few times a year and it is more common in people over age 50. Tim had no memory of the go-kart racing (he still does not) but he knew his name/address and his friends’ names and my name. They have to do testing to make sure it is not a blood clot in the brain, or tumor, or a stroke. ALL of his tests at the Emergency Room and since then have been negative for any of those bad things, so they have come to the conclusion that it was this transient amnesia. I had never heard of such a thing! They don’t know what causes it but it can be from extreme stress (i.e. even a plunge in cold water can cause it). But it was not due to any trauma.

    Anyway, all the time that I was driving over to the hospital (which was very far from home), I repeated that phrase “Come Lord Jesus” over and over, because I was so afraid for Tim and knew that only by inviting Jesus into the situation, would I find peace. And you know what? It helped immensely! Even though I was fearful of what might be going on with him, I also felt calm and knew that God would be with me and that His will would be done and I would be supported no matter what. I am SO thankful that I had read that post the day before! AGAIN, you came through for me!! What a gift you are, my dear friend!! Thank you! Praying for you daily, Fr. George!

    Love, Nancy

    Comment by nancywest22 | December 27, 2014 | Reply

  5. Hi, It has been years since I even thought of you. My sister Kath told me about you on facebook. I am a believer now. I got saved in 12/11/1984 when my sister took me to a youth group at a church in Evergreen Park. I go to a Baptist church in Indiana with my wife and look forward to going to be with the Lord. I resented my
    Catholic Education because the Gospel was never presented in a clear manner but I am very happy to see that you believe. I also know that Jesus said not to call anyone Father but your Father in heaven so I will simply call you George. No offense.
    Take care and I will see you in eternity
    Daniel Knudsen

    Comment by Daniel Knudsen | January 1, 2015 | Reply

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