Jesus’ Goodbye

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Xene Sanchez SVD – Congo, Africa

Thursday 6th Week of Easter

I am surprised to discover that there are so many books entitled: “Time to say goodbye.” I searched for it since the elderly couple who adopted me in Belgium asked me if I could find one. Then they revealed to me that the husband had terminal cancer. They had to learn how to live this painful moment and say “au revoir” to each other.

In a way, it does not really mean “goodbye”; it rather says “till we see each other again”. At the airport, at the bus and train stations, at the harbor, so many tears of sorrow are shed at the departure section. At the arrival section, on the contrary, tears of joy are flowing abundantly.

The farewell discourses of Jesus are recorded at length by John. He dedicated five entire chapters (13 to 17). Today we read the words of Jesus: “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” (John 16, 16)

In their sorrow it was not easy for the disciples to imagine Jesus’ departure. He was always with them, and they followed him wherever he went. More difficult to accept and understand was his allusion to his death. How could the Lord die?

Then came the incomprehensible: How can he say “and again a little while and you will see me”? Did he mean he will live again? Without doubt he was referring to his resurrection, an event never seen before. And when it happened later on they could not almost believe it was true, and they were be filled with joy.

Another surprise for me was to see so many books entitled “Never say goodbye.” Indeed, for us Christians, death is but a step to enjoy eternal life. If a loved one dies, we know where he is going, and we know that we are going there too one day. Surely we will see each other again.

Jesus assured his disciples: “I am going to the Father.” All of us, as followers of Jesus, are going to our Father too.

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