The word of the day is viaticum. It's the final Eucharist received before death, usually as part of the Last Rites. The word viaticum is Latin for "provision for the journey". In sacred liturgy, viaticum refers to the provision for the passage out of this world into the next. This word came up in recent news that shocked the nation. Basketball superstar Kobe Bryant, 41, died Sunday in a helicopter crash. BUT it comforts many that he and his 13 year-old daughter Gianna who also died in the crash, were seen at the 7 o'clock mass that morning and received what was to be their last Holy Communion, their viaticum.
Kobe Bryant: Death of Catholic
While Bryant's fame comes from his 20-year basketball career playing for the LA Lakers, his past was tainted by the accusations of rape. He retired in 2016 and led a more private life. News of Bryant's fatal accident sparked reactions from fellow athletes, fans, and of course a plethora of media outlets. Much to my surprise, the news even made headlines on Relevant Radio, highlighting the fact that Bryant was not only a basketball celebrity; he was also Catholic.
On Morning Air, Fr. Edward Looney offered lessons on what we, as Catholics, can learn from the life and death of Kobe Bryant.
- Live a Good Life - we never know when our time on earth will come to an end so it's important to always live in a state of grace.
- Don't Miss Mass - even Kobe Bryant who was traveling to his daughter's tournament
- Make use of the Sacraments made available to us like Reconciliation and Holy Communion
- Don't Put Off Tomorrow the conversion you can begin today - reach out to a priest or a spiritual director and ask for help regarding trauma or serious sins that have taken hold of you or a family member
- We're All MVP's in God's Eyes - Bryant may have been a legend on the court with thousands of fans to vouch for it but God doesn't love him more for it. Your soul is just as valuable to God as Kobe Bryant's.
- Let God Do the Judging - some have brought up Bryant's past sins even though he had settled the matter in court and issued a public apology to the victim. He had also shared in an interview that talking to a priest (maybe in confession?) is what helped him turn his life around
- Pray for the Dead - instead of judging, we need to be praying for all who have gone before us.
And Let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.