Starting from today’s reading, Pope Francis focused his homily on the meaning of “saying goodbye” for Christian people. Jesus says goodbye to go to the Father and send the Holy Spirit; Saint Paul before going to Jerusalem cries with the old people who came from Ephesus to say goodbye. “During our lives – explained the Pope – we often have to say goodbye and we suffer and cry a lot”.
The Pope gave some examples, the poor Rohingya of Myanmar who were forced to leave their land because of persecutions, spending months on a boat until the arrival to a city where they were not welcomed. He spoke about existential goodbyes of Christians and Yazidis who will never return to their land and homes.
“Big and minor goodbyes” said Pope Francis, “as the one of the mother who gives the last hug to her son going to war”. There is also “the last goodbye that awaits us all, when the Lord calls us. I think about it”.
These are “big goodbyes”, because it is not possible to say, “See you”. Paul entrusted God with his family, and Jesus entrusted God with his disciple, “entrusting God with everything, this is the origin of the word ‘goodbye’”. The Pope stressed this point and added, “I believe that these two icons, Paul and Jesus, help us think about out departure from life. It will do us good. Who will be the one who will close my eyes? What am I leaving behind? It is good to imagine that moment”.
And then the Pope launches a provocation, “Am I ready to entrust everything to God? To entrust God with onself and Himself to God?”. Bergoglio concluded praying, “May God who died and rose send us the Holy Spirit so that we can know that word and learn how to say it ‘existentially’, with all our strength. “Goodbye”
Translation provided by Mary Ann D’Costa