It’s Time to Say Goodbye

It’s Time to Say Goodbye By Fr. Norm Tanck It is difficult to say goodbye, especially to someone you love. For the last few weeks, the Gospel readings at Mass have been from Jesus’ farewell discourse in the Gospel of John. Jesus’ goodbye isn’t a quick, “so long, its been good to know you”. It takes all of Chapters 14, 15, 16, and 17 (116 verses). It is really a beautiful, intimate insight into Jesus’ love for his Father, his deep love for his disciples. You can sense the human vulnerability of one who has to say goodbye to those he loves, and yet there is a sense of strength and purpose because the pain of separation will be replaced with the joy of being reunited in a deeper and lasting bond. He tells them it is time for him to leave them now, but promises to send the Spirit, to comfort them. He talks about the unity and peace that can only come from love and being obedient to the will of the Father. Jesus speaks of his hopes and dreams for his disciples, his friends and for the whole world, “That all would be one” and all would be at peace, He prays for them and for us. Next Sunday we will be celebrating the Feast of the Ascension when we will commemorate the Lord Jesus’ return to the Father in heaven and the Great Commission given to the Apostles to go out into the world and proclaim the Good News that the reign of God as begun. But we can already feel the anxiety of separation and loss in today’s Gospel, along with a promise of accompaniment and hope. But to address that “separation anxiety” Jesus tells his disciples and us, ”Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe”. Whenever we feel the pain of separation and loss, whenever we fear for the future, these words can be a solace and hope for us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid”. Sunday’s Readings: Acts 15.1-2, 22-29 Psalm 67 Revelation 21.10-14, 22-23 John 14.23-29