Kobe Bryant did not plan to die on January 26th, but he did. His short life impacted many, myself included. I attended the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Sunday, and our Pastor, Fr. Moneypenny, said that he received information from the priest in Newport Beach, California. He was informed that Kobe and his daughter Gianna had attended the 7:00 a.m. Mass on the day of his tragic accident. Kobe and Gianna prayed the Apostles’ Creed and before receiving Communion recited the prayer from:
Matthew 8:8 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
8 The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.
The Eucharist is the body of Christ, so when Catholics confess their sins we are absolved of our transgressions. When we receive the Communion wafer, we really receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Kobe and Gianna were in the state of grace, prepared to leave this world with a clean spirit after receiving Communion. I am a Eucharistic minister (EM), and I take this position with great reverence. I am not only saying, “The body of Christ or the blood of Christ,” I look into their eyes so that when they receive the Eucharist they can feel the holy presence of God. This is one of the reasons I attend daily Mass; I do not want to be denied this special blessing, and I want to start my day with a clean slate. The Eucharist brings healing to your body, whether emotional or physical; it works on our inner being. We are free to go on with our day with the blessings of the Eucharist because it is the Real Presence of God. Kobe understood what the Eucharist represented because on several occasions he was seen attending daily Mass at Holy Family Catherdral in Orange, California. my hometown.
The Young Married Couple
Kobe met his wife Vanessa when she was 17 years old; they became engaged when she turned 18. They married six months later. Kobe’s parents did not attend their wedding, which was held at St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point, California. How sad to choose not to attend your son’s wedding; how sad not be be in the wedding photos of this special day. Mike and I married young as well; Mike, like Kobe, was 21 and I was a year older than Vanessa. We were just kids, and there was a lot of maturing that had to take place. Our growing matters were private; Kobe’s and Vanessa’s lives unfolded in the public eye. He made mistakes that almost ended his marriage, but he understood that his marriage was a sacrament blessed by God and he got through many rough patches by seeking the advice of the clergy. In an interview by GQ Magazine, Kobe shared how a priest helped him get past his sin.
“The one thing that really helped me during that process—I’m Catholic, I grew up Catholic, my kids are Catholic—was talking to a priest.”
“It was actually kind of funny: He looks at me and says, ‘Did you do it?’ And I say, ‘Of course not.’ Then he asks, ‘Do you have a good lawyer?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah, he’s phenomenal.’ So then he just said, ‘Let it go. Move on. God’s not going to give you anything you can’t handle, and it’s in his hands now. This is something you can’t control. So let it go.’ “And that was the turning point,” Bryant said.
If there is strife with your children, it is your God-given duty to amend the differences before division sets in. Our children belong to God; He has entrusted them to us. We are to love them, guide them, and release them, with our prayers always with them. Do not allow the Devil to get a foothold of a Godly relationship. Even if it’s not your doing, take the blame. Don’t miss out on your blessings, and do not be robbed of your time with them. Always be at peace with your loved ones because regrets will haunt you, and the Devil will use this as a tool to inflict guilt in you. We never know when we will met our Maker.
To lose a spouse is heartbreaking, but to lose a child is deep anguish. Our prayers go out to Vanessa and Natalia, as they cope with what may be the biggest trial of their lives, and the two remaining children Bianka, and baby Capri, who only had a short time with their father. Kobe was Gianna’s coach and along with them on the tragic day were two of her teammates, and other family members. They were on their way to play a game in Newbury Park, California at the Mamba Sports Academy. The name Mamba is from the Black Mamba snake. This reptile has the ability to strike at maximum speed with 99% accuracy. Kobe was also referred to as the GOAT, which is an acronym for Greatest of all Time. Kobe personified both.
Seven other people’s lives were lost; they were a close-knit group, brought together by the love of family and the love of their basketball team. God bless John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa. God bless Christina Mauser, the assistant coach, wife of Matt and mother of three children. God bless Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, and God bless Ara Zobayan, the pilot of the helicopter. So many were moved by your great loss.
Kobe was a balanced man who kept company with regular people as well as rubbing shoulders with the giants in his professional world.
Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)
The Time of Misfortune Is Not Known. 11 Again I saw under the sun that the race is not won by the swift, nor the battle by the valiant, nor a livelihood by the wise, nor riches by the shrewd, nor favor by the experts; for a time of misfortune comes to all alike. 12 Human beings no more know their own time than fish taken in the fatal net or birds trapped in the snare; like these, mortals are caught when an evil time suddenly falls upon them.