Homily by Deacon Harry Evans
Have you ever said goodbye to family members after a holiday visit or a vacation? Maybe a grandparent, a favorite cousin, an aunt or uncle? You have enjoyed their company and you have done many things that were really fun and have made some good memories. Now they are packing up the car and leaving for home or for the airport and you know you won’t see them again for a long while. You are sad and it’s hard to hold back the tears as they leave.
We see emotion in St. Paul, in the first reading, and Jesus, in the Gospel; they are both saying goodbye….and next month we will be saying goodbye to Father Paul. They have been preparing people to face life and carry on Jesus’ mission on their own and the end of their preparation is near. Both are ready to do the will of the Father, and they each take one last moment to say goodbye.
Both Saint Paul and Jesus know that they are leaving their followers in a dangerous time and place. Father Paul, too, is worried about the danger for us is what the world can do and does to our souls rather than what it might do to our bodies.
In their preparation Jesus, Saint Paul, and Father Paul have given us the greatest possible weapon against the dangers of the world: truth in the Word of God. They have told us the truth…the truth that comes from the Father through Jesus. And the truth is that every false promise of happiness that the world tells us is destroyed by the truth that our happiness is in God alone.
If Jesus was willing to leave the Church in the hands of his Apostles, who guard the church today, we have no reason to be fearful. Not because the world is not dangerous (it is dangerous), nor because our preparation has been perfect. But we know we have a Father in heaven who is guiding all of history to his good purpose and holds the key to our inheritance as children of the King who loves us and protects us.