A reading from the Acts of the Apostles 20:17-27
From Miletus Paul had the presbyters of the Church at Ephesus summoned.
When they came to him, he addressed them, "You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.
I served the Lord with all humility and with the tears and trials that came to me because of the plots of the Jews, and I did not at all shrink from telling you what was for your benefit, or from teaching you in public or in your homes. I earnestly bore witness for both Jews and Greeks to repentance before God and to faith in our Lord Jesus.
But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace. "But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again.
And so I solemnly declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God."
REFLECTION: But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know.
As we have been packing for a long summer trip, the words of St. Paul and of Jesus' resonate in our minds.
In both the reading and the Gospel, St. Paul and Jesus are saying respectively goodbye to their disciples and friends. And letting them know they won't see each other again on this earth.
In a way this struck us. Lately it has been a long parade of "last times": Last time our kids attended religious education at our current parish. Last time we received Holy Communion from our associate pastor, as he also prepares to go a a different parish. Last time... Last time...
The reason is because upon our return we will also be moving away. And last times have come, and now gone. And we don't know what the future holds.
And sometimes we get scared: A storm is scheduled at the exact time our plane leaves. One of our parents was just diagnosed with cancer. The car broke, the dog barfed, you name it. The future just seems terribly uncertain.
St. Paul knew that the road ahead was not going to be easy. And yet, he put his trust in Jesus.
During my morning walk, I recalled the 11 word novena of Don Dolindo Ruotolo: "O Jesus, I abandon myself to you. Jesus, you take over."
This was a teaching from Father Michael from a couple of years ago. The original blog can be found HERE.
In any case, I realized that I always want to be in control of every situation, including the weather.
Learning to "let go and let God" is not an easy task.
Instead of thinking about "Last Times", we are going to start focusing on "First Times": First Time in our new parish. First Time taking care of our aging/sick parents. First Time in our new home. First Time meeting new friends. First Time fully trusting God.
Jesus I trust in You. Jesus you take over!