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19th May 2021


Acts 20: 28-38;

Ps 68: 29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab;

Jn 17: 11b-19

Knowing where we are going is very helpful. Often there may be different paths to get there. We may encounter obstacles and roadblocks. Sometimes we have the assistance of others as we travel along. We are all called to be heading toward God. Let us continue to reassure one another of our prayers and thoughts as we move toward our destination.

Today, we encounter two individuals in our readings who have to say their farewells to their disciples. They realize their time with their followers is drawing to a close. They end their sessions with those who have been close to them for a rather lengthy bit of time by praying with and for them.

In the First Reading, St. Paul bids goodbye to the leaders and the people of Ephesus and Miletus. He asks the leaders to continue to watch over the flock which has been entrusted to their care. St. Paul speaks of the hardships and attacks they will experience in the days ahead, once he is gone. He reminds them, as he says, of Jesus’ words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” With that, he prays with them and takes leave of them.

In the Gospel, Jesus continues His final words to His followers before His death. The whole seventeenth chapter of St. John’s Gospel is Jesus’ prayer for His disciples (which includes us). Jesus asks His Father to take care of those who have been called in Jesus’ name. He asks that those who will continue His ministry after He is gone will be made holy in the truth.

It is never easy to say our last words to those for whom we have cared and those with whom we have shared so much time; people’s separating in distance by moves, changing jobs, or because others have chosen to do different things with their lives and thus will not be as near as they have been.

The only thing certain and unchanging in life is not the proverbial death, but the love of God poured out in Christ Jesus. Yes, death is also a fixed part of life, but the love of God goes beyond death. St. Augustine once remarked, “our souls are restless, until they rest in You, O God.” To put it another way, “Things are going to change; friends will come and go, but our relationship with God is a ‘for sure’ thing.” In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul list all the things which change in our lives or the things which change our lives: suffering, hardships, persecutions, famine, nakedness, danger, the sword, death, life, past, present, and the future. Then he remarks that none of those things or absolutely “nothing will separate us from the love of God” (Romans 8: 31-39).

One consoling thought for me is that even though I have to say “good bye” and “farewell” to friends and family who have not or will not be part of my life as they have been in the past, I believe that I will be re-united with them again, all because of the love of God. I have already experienced this. Thinking that I would never see some people again, we have had to say “good bye,” and then, later, have crossed paths in the strangest of circumstances.

There are those who have already gone home to be in the house of our Father, Who happens to be God. Even across the door known as death, they are still close to us, sometimes even closer than before, because of our being united in the love of God. That does not take away all the sadness of having to say “good- bye.” I am saying that “In God” we will be united, especially when we all finish our earthly, human pilgrimage and are one with God for all eternity.

May we keep our eyes focus on our eternal destination and may that guide us, as we journey to be with God forever.


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