Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me, but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me.” (John 14: 27 – 31)
Goodbyes can be so bittersweet. When loved ones pass away, we find some comfort in knowing they are with the Lord and that their suffering has ended, yet the passing leaves a void in our hearts and our daily routines. I attended the funeral of my uncle today and this reading was present to me in a new way. As I said the prayers at his grave I was aware of how the disciples must have felt when Jesus when Jesus left them.
Imagine, then, the confusion of the apostles at the Last Supper. What joy were they to find in their friend leaving, and what did he mean that he would be back? So many of the things he had said were difficult to understand.
But Jesus was faithful to his promise. He did return. And as we face the goodbyes in our own lives, may we always be confident that while our earthly lives always will be filled with change, we have the Lord as a constant.
Pat Schifini, OSU