I’ve always had an aversion to saying good-bye. It is difficult to think that I might not see someone I treasure for a long time. I guess that’s why I love my family’s tradition of walking our visitors out and waving until they drive away!
In today’s reading, Saint Paul says a emotional goodbye to his friends in Ephesus (Acts 20:38). In the Gospel, Our Lord says a blessing in His goodbye to His disciples. (John 17:11-19) Although neither of them say, “Now, remember to be grateful to Mommy and Daddy, and remember you are beautiful and wonderful,” (as I would say to my nieces and nephews when we parted), Saint Paul and Jesus are actually saying something rather similar.
True love unites. The quiet peace, joy, and clarity of true love is the precious gift we celebrate in these Easter days.
It’s interesting that, as we are deep into the Easter Season, our family, the Church, seems to be calling us to do a little check-in. We have fifty days to be immersed in Alleluias. Fifty days to praise to God in whom we have access to the finality of Love’s triumph over death and darkness. Today, we are in the seventh week of Easter and the Church asks us to step back and remember the words surrounding the victory of love.
As Jesus and Saint Paul say goodbye, they warn us to be on guard against any division—whether it be in ourselves, in our families, or in our community. In fact, division is the sure sign of the presence of something putrid that festers up from the father of lies.
So while we’re still singing Easter praises, it is good to ask the Holy Spirit to keep the memory of our identity in Christ within each of us. We can see that identity with our hearts, and we need to be reminded that it is what enables us to live in the world—and yet not be of the world.
Sister Maria Kim Bui is a Daughter of Saint Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She is originally from Tempe, AZ, spent most of her fourteen years in religious life in the northeast, and is part of a bilingual evangelization team of sisters serving in Texas. Find out more about her here.