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Won’t You Stay Just A Little Bit Longer?

First Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Brothers and sisters,
I could not talk to you as spiritual people,
but as fleshly people, as infants in Christ.
I fed you milk, not solid food,
because you were unable to take it.
Indeed, you are still not able, even now,
for you are still of the flesh.
While there is jealousy and rivalry among you,
are you not of the flesh, and walking
according to the manner of man?
Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another,
“I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?

What is Apollos, after all, and what is Paul?
Ministers through whom you became believers,
just as the Lord assigned each one.
I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one,
and each will receive wages in proportion to his labor.
For we are God’s co-workers;
you are God’s field, God’s building.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33:12-13, 14-15, 20-21

R. (12) Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the LORD looks down;
he sees all mankind.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
From his fixed throne he beholds
all who dwell on the earth,
He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and our shield,
For in him our hearts rejoice;
in his holy name we trust.
R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.

Gospel: Luke 4:38-44

After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon.
Simon’s mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever,
and they interceded with him about her.
He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her.
She got up immediately and waited on them.

At sunset, all who had people sick with various diseases
brought them to him.
He laid his hands on each of them and cured them.
And demons also came out from many, shouting, “You are the Son of God.”
But he rebuked them and did not allow them to speak
because they knew that he was the Christ.

At daybreak, Jesus left and went to a deserted place.
The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him,
they tried to prevent him from leaving them.
But he said to them, “To the other towns also
I must proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God,
because for this purpose I have been sent.”
And he was preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

NAB

aug 31
Have you ever had to say goodbye too soon?

We found out recently that a beloved priest was moving to a new parish, and the announcement hit me like a ton of bricks. In just a short year, we had grown very close to this holy priest—he helped our family navigate some challenging hurdles, he became a spiritual father and director and confidant . . . just when I felt like the best was yet to come, suddenly we were being abandoned.

How my heart ached.

I imagine the people of this town felt similarly. Just when they’d tasted what it truly meant to be fed, just when the miracles of healings and answered prayers were getting started, their beloved Jesus vanished. Oh, how they tried to make Him stay, even just a little longer. But Jesus knew how many others were waiting, needing to be fed, healed, and ministered to.

Parting ways with those we love is hard, especially when it’s beyond our control. It could be a new assignment, a move far from friends or family, a breakup or fall-out, or the acute weight and finality of death. Whatever our circumstance, that sting of separation or feeling of abandonment can be overwhelming. Like those villagers trying desperately to hold on to Jesus, the ache of our need might be so all-consuming that it overshadows our trust in His plan. Jesus gets what we’re all loath to admit: we often have eyes only for our own desires, while He has eyes for the whole of humanity.

It is for our own sake, then, that Jesus sees for us. He sees outside the tiny walls of our heart, beyond our own small locus of control. Unconstrained by time, He sees you and me in the full spectrum of our past and our future—He sees exactly what we need for us to become who He created us to be. Even when our own needs limit our understanding of the “perfect” timing, Jesus carries the weight of all the world’s needs at every moment in time, and responds to each according to His divine knowledge of time and eternity.

Goodbyes are an inescapable reality of this life—and the weight may feel crushing at times. But unlike those villagers, we don’t have to beg Jesus to stay. He’s already here, asking to walk the road with us spiritually, waiting to give of Himself physically in the Eucharist. Let’s open ourselves to His strength in our weakness.

Is there a painful parting in your life right now? In the life of someone close to you? Remind yourself or them that Christ is still very present with us as we suffer this loss, and He is holding us close.

photo credit

Megan Hjelmstad is a wife, mom, writer and sometimes soldier whose real passion is equal parts faith and chocolate. You can find out more about her here.

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