Remembering Luke Mechmann and those with addictions

By:

“You are closer to Luke in the Eucharist than you were to him on earth. Jesus is holding him by the hand and you by the other.” The parish priest at St. Barnabas was preaching at the homily of a young man who died of a drug overdose. Luke had just gone to confession the weekend before he died and received the Eucharist in the state of grace.

Addiction changes you, and his body craved the stuff — marijuana in high school, then heroin and ultimately fentanyl. He had been in and out of rehab and was about to go back in. One night during his last week here, in fact, he tried to check himself in, and although he was told there would be a bed, there wasn’t. He often would take a little so that he could keep his body functioning. That kind of self-medication gives you the impression it works until it doesn’t.

By every account, Luke was a good kid. He was a “sweetheart,” a young woman who grew up with him told his Dad at the wake, who could only agree. How a mother and father ever live without the opportunity to hug their son or daughter can only be a miracle of God’s grace. So, too, not being able to help their child be freed of such a stronghold.

Now, Ed and Peggy know their beloved son, Luke, is not struggling with addiction anymore. I pray that they can get to a place where that is truly a consolation.

At the wake, his mother played a song that resonated with Luke. It’s titled “That Wasn’t Me.” The refrain was clearly the cry of his heart to his family and friends: “Tell me: Did I go on a tangent? Did I lie through my teeth? Did I cause you to stumble on your feet? Did I bring shame on my family? Did it show when I was weak?” And then: “Whatever you’ve seen, that wasn’t me. That wasn’t me, oh that wasn’t me.”

One of the verses includes: “But I want you to know that you’ll never be alone. I wanna believe. Do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?”

His mom also talked about the two Lukes. Sober Luke was generous and loving. His uncle shared during his eulogy that, in his last week, Luke also gave some of his clothes from his bag as he was traveling to a man who had just been released from prison and was trying to begin again.

There but by the mercy of God go any one of us. Addictions of various kinds can be crutches that get us through the day. Priests and religious are not immune. No one is. I had been praying for Luke for many years, and I know I am not alone. His parents have a circle of pray-er friends, including the Sisters of Life, some of whom were with them in the days after Luke’s death at home, at the wake and the funeral Mass.

I found myself thinking: Can we ever pray enough in the face of suffering?

The local Irish pub hosted a gratis brunch after the Mass — they would not charge parents who lost a child. The owner even pitched in.

In solidarity with the Mechmanns in their grief, can we all pray more for those who are wrestling with some of the deadliest addictions? And Luke had tremendous support. How many others have none? COVID, of course, has made everything worse.

Which brings us back to the Eucharist. It’s where our power lies. Giving everything to God. Knowing that it is he who gives us strength. If you’ve lost a child, God knows the depths of your love and your pain. Mary is with you, bringing her deep into the heart of her Son.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Luke Mechmann and for the consolation of his family. And for all those who struggle with addiction. And that we all may be more sensitive to the pain others are enduring imperfectly as humans do. Bring it all to Jesus in the Eucharist. He died so that we might live. May Luke be with the Father for eternity.

This article comes to you from Our Sunday Visitor courtesy of your parish or diocese.

 

Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Recent

Remembering Luke Mechmann and those with addictions

Wednesday, August 17, 2022
By: Kathryn Jean Lopez “You are closer to Luke in the Eucharist than you were to him on earth. Jesus is holding him by the hand and you by... Read More

Amid grief and loss, long-term recovery is on horizon for eastern Kentucky

Monday, August 15, 2022
By: Marnie McAllister (CNS) Mother of Good Counsel Church in Hazard, Kentucky, tolled its bell as Mass ended Aug. 7, while parishioners named a... Read More

Opening the Word: Christian peace differs from the worldview

Friday, August 12, 2022
By: Father Joshua J. Whitfield A strange peace, undoubtedly. It’s a peace that’s disruptive. It’s strange because that’s... Read More

Imagine a world where states and women’s care centers worked together

Wednesday, August 10, 2022
By: Our Sunday Visitor Editorial Board For nearly 50 years, members of the pro-life movement found themselves trying to convince anyone and... Read More

The American Catholic problem today

Monday, August 8, 2022
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion Threats to the vitality of the Church in Europe 70 years ago, in large part prompting the Second Vatican Council, have... Read More

Opening the Word: A response of faith

Friday, August 5, 2022
By: Catherine Cavadini This Sunday’s readings are all rooted in the story of Abraham. In Chapters 12-22 of Genesis, Abraham is presented as a... Read More

When God opens doors

Wednesday, August 3, 2022
By: Scott P. Richert When a door opens before you, do you walk through? I’m not talking about metaphorical doors, but actual physical doors.... Read More

Catholics rally in support of Michigan pro-life center after vandalism

Monday, August 1, 2022
By: Karla Dorweiler When Mary Wilkerson drove past offensive signs in the front yard of a home in late June, she was angry. Not just because her... Read More

Opening the Word: Are we the rich fool?

Friday, July 29, 2022
By: Father Joshua J. Whitfield Someone — we don’t know who — shouts to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the... Read More

Longtime youth minister offers suggestions to get teens excited about Mass

Wednesday, July 27, 2022
By: Mark Hart My cradle Catholic parents instilled in me the importance of going to Mass religiously (no pun intended) but were never able to... Read More