Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Wednesday in the 7th Week of Easter
Commendation & Consecration

Readings: Acts 20:28-38; Psalm 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab; John 17:11b-19

Perhaps one of the most difficult things about farewells is the need to let go. Especially when one has lived a passionate and meaningful life, a life that has made a difference, there will bound to be things and people to let go of. And this isn’t an easy thing to do, simply because bonds have been formed, bonds of care and concern, of charity and compassion. Yet, isn’t this what farewell is all about? You realize that you have to depart, that you will not be as involved in the life of the loved one as you were before, at least not quite in the same way. So you offer the other the very best of wishes. You bid farewell.

And this can be a very heart-wrenching thing to do, not least because you may foresee various dangers that this loved one might have to face in the future, without the benefit of your presence and help. As Paul says in the first reading, when I have gone fierce wolves will invade you… even from your own ranks… And Jesus faces a similar difficulty in the gospel: I passed your word on to them and the world hated them…

What to do? Both Paul and Jesus respond to this common difficulty in like fashion. Again, as we did yesterday, we notice how they are concerned not solely with themselves and the people they are leaving behind. Their thoughts are centred, rather, on the One who had sent them and is now recalling them. And it is their trust in the power and providence of this One that enables them to depart in peace. I commend you to God, says Paul to the Ephesians, and to the word of his grace that has power to build you up and to give you your inheritance among all the sanctified… In like manner, Jesus prays for his disciples, who include all of us: Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name… Consecrate them in the truth… At a time when they might be weighed down with worry over those they have to leave behind, both Paul and Jesus continue to place their hopes in God. Even as they bid their final farewell, they commend and consecrate those whom they love into God’s hands.

And isn’t it true that no matter how great the physical distance among us, when all are consecrated and commended in the same Truth and Love, the bonds that bind us together will never really be broken?

How are we being invited to let go today?

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