Gospel (Jn 14: 27-31A)
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."
Have you had someone tell you that they had to leave you? How did you feel? Maybe you felt “troubled or afraid” that when they were gone you wouldn’t be safe. Or maybe, you would feel lost without their guidance and support. Yet, they reminded you that they would return. Did you love that person enough to be happy for them and where they were going?
When I have had to say good-bye to loved ones, at first, I didn’t “rejoice.” I was selfish and sad that they were leaving me. Nothing in those initial moments were peaceful!
I have experienced saying good-bye to close friends and loved ones who moved far away. There was always the hope of visiting them or seeing them again soon. Those thoughts were a consolation and brought some peace. Then there were some loved ones who died (my husband and my dad) who passed into eternity. It took longer to grasp that I will see them again, too; but maybe not as soon as I’d like. Time for the hurt and feeling of emptiness took longer to subside (It will never go away), before I could feel consoled and peaceful. Yet, when I stopped being selfish; I began to look at their leaving as God’s Will for them. Death was a transition; His loving response to bring them to their true home. At that moment I could “rejoice” for them. Today’s Gospel is such a tender reminder that Jesus understood how his beloved ones, His friends, would feel about His leaving. He gave them hope. 'I am going away and I will come back to you.' He will come back! How consoling!
Jesus comes back to us every time a priest celebrates the Holy Mass and we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. Just as Jesus promised He will always be with us. Let us remember to pray for Priests to love Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. And so He will return. REJOICE! Christos Anesti!