Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Hachkiō was a Japanese Akita who accompanied his owner, Hidesaburō Uenō, a professor at Tokyo University, home from the train station each evening. Uenō had purchased the dog as a puppy and the young dog left the house each evening to greet Uenō at the commuter train and walk him home.
One day at work, Uenō suffered a fatal stroke while delivering a lecture and did not return home.
Nevertheless, Hachkiō insisted on leaving home each evening and waiting for his master’s return at precisely the time the usual train was due at the station. The dog did this in fair weather and foul for 9 years, 9 months and 15 days until his own death from cancer at age eleven.
The dog continued his daily vigil without much fanfare and sometimes not much appreciation from commuters, until one of Uenō’s students wrote about the dog’s remarkable loyalty and Hachkiō became a local celebrity. Over the years the story grew more famous and the dog became celebrated in Japanese culture as a example of loyalty and fidelity.
Perhaps you know an Americanized version of Hachkiō ’s story from the 2009 movie Hachi: A Dog’s Tale starring Richard Gere, Joan Allen and Jason Alexander. His story has been told in numerous films and children’s books as well.
Jesus only admonished the servants who awaited their master’s return from a wedding to remain alert for a few hours. Later his own inner circle abandoned him to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane and ran away entirely during his passion and death.
Is our own time limit for waiting, especially for the Lord, entirely too short? Let us ask for the grace to be faithful.