I listen to the priest. He tells us we should be, “bringing Heaven down here to earth.”

We are in church to say goodbye to a gorgeous sixteen year old boy. A child overflowing with love and brimming with joy. He is gifted in the art of life…family, friendships, spirituality and grace. He is also gifted in athletics. A shining star in the sport of baseball.

It is an impossible loss for his mother and father and sister and brothers, his extended family, his friends, his baseball team, his church, his school and his community.

Matthew has touched the lives of many with his infectious smile and joie de vivre. His name, Matthew means “Gift from God” and he has been a mighty gift to all who have lived life with him.

The priest speaks about Matthew’s life through baseball. I think how he most certainly would have loved to be celebrated this way through his beloved sport.

Father speaks of baseball being vastly different than most sports. That it begins in the springtime when life is renewed, plays through the summer and into the fall, when life temporarily retreats. He explains that in no other sport can a game be over so quickly or extended for so long.

He says that life has that same cycle of seasons and no one knows just how many innings we will all be able to play.

Matthew is a star, yet he didn’t need to be one. He was humble about his gifts and certain of himself. He played every inning with a zest for life.

“Matthew was gifted in love,” says his great uncle. His own voice laced with the same trademark gift.

He speaks of fond memories shared between a boy and an “ole geezer like him.’ He asks us to honor Matthew by pitching the same warmth, kindness and joy in our own lives. To throw around the same type of love that others could catch so easily. To continue to keep this player’s spirit in the game.

To step up to the bat and take our turn “bringing Heaven down here to earth.”

Just as the ‘rare lefty star’ taught us to.


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