Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Jack O'Donnell, 1927 to 2014

One of the readings at today's funeral at St. William's in Euclid for our friend Jack O'Donnell was Chapter 13 of First Corinthians. This reading is often featured at weddings, but it was perfect for Jack's funeral. Jack O'Donnell was a kind, generous man, dedicated to his wonderful family. I like to think of him as a good Irishman, with the Irish characteristics of conversation, humor, and a talent for friendship and family. Here is one version of that  great reading, where Paul puts aside his sometimes pedantic style and soars with the voice of a great poet:

1 Corinthians 13

New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.#

As the pallbearers processed with Jack's casket out of the church, Bruce Greig, pipe major from the Irish American Club East Side played the tune "Erin's Green Shores." Here is a version of that tune:

Altan's version, "Gleanntain Ghlas Ghaoth Dobhair" (The Green Glenns of Gweedore):

I hope at the end of my life people will be able to honestly say that I loved my friends and family--that I was a generous, loyal friend.

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