As I drive around town, it isn’t hard to find statues and buildings that have been erected to the affluent and famous. One medical building’s pediatric wing is named for a philanthropist. The same is true of the baseball stadium of a local university. People have always found it satisfying to have their legacy “made permanent” by fashioning it in steel and stone.
And there’s no doubt that such monuments can do a lot of good. They often provide a home for some useful service to the community. Still, there is a legacy that, while less obvious, seems more profound to me. It is the legacy of a life lived for others.
This week, Vic Gonsalves departed this world and left that kind of legacy behind.
Vic was one of the first employees of Cross International Catholic Outreach and he came out of retirement to accept that role. He was responsible for seeing that shipments of food, medicines and other important materials were properly shipped overseas and effectively distributed to the poor. It was a job he did well, because he did it for the Lord and because he cared about the poor families who relied on his help.
Those families are Vic’s legacy. Some are children who will live out better lives thanks to his commitment and generosity. Others, the elderly, passed on to heaven before Vic, and we are sure that they welcomed him into their midst. They are the friends Christ describes in Luke 14…
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
And again in Luke 16:
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.
Today, in glory, Vic is among those friends, celebrating and looking down on the children living out better lives, thanks to the role he has played at Cross. We give thanks for Vic and for the legacy he has left us – a legacy in more than stone.