Friday reflection: How to say goodbye well

Is there a better way to say goodbye? Yes. Using John 15:9-17, I discussed how Jesus taught us to say goodbye well by consoling, encouraging and praying. The reflection builds upon my earlier blog entries on goodbyes (part 1 & part 2). This May 7, 2021, reflection at St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine was the last one for the semester. The text for the reflection is below the video.

I’m terrible at saying goodbyes. It feels awkward.
What can I honestly say that will make it better?
What can I really say that will make it better?

Sometimes, I avoided saying goodbye.
Other times, nobody said goodbye to me.
Every time, something is missing.

What is missing?
What is missing are
the opportunity to be vulnerable,
the opportunity to love,
and the opportunity to receive love.

Some of us might also have trouble saying goodbye,
especially now as the semester ends.
People are packing to leave town.
Some of us will be away for the summer. 
Some of us for a whole year.
Some of us for good. Even if we do return, it will be different.
We won’t step back onto campus as it was before.

But Jesus, our wonderful teacher and friend,
teaches how to say goodbye gracefully.

This Gospel for this coming Sunday captures this lesson well.
When he says goodbye,
Jesus consoles, encourages and prays for his friends.
Jesus consoles, encourages and prays for his friends.    

First, Jesus consoles.

In the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples
that he was going away.
But he did not leave them in their pain.
He consoled them.
He promised that He is preparing a place for them.
In this Gospel, he says:

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.”

Jesus consoles.
So we must console each other when we say goodbye.

Next, Jesus encourages.

Jesus encourages his disciples by giving them words to live by.
He tells them:

“Love one another.”
“Love one another.”

Father Lanteri gave that same advice
to his Oblates on his deathbed.

“Love one another.”

That is my encouragement to you.
No matter where you are, love everyone around you.

Jesus encourages.
So we must encourage each other when we say goodbye.

Lastly, Jesus prays for his friends.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples:

“Whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

In John 17, Jesus prays for his disciples.
He asks the Father to protect them from the Evil One.

How quickly we forget to pray for others
because we no longer see them.
No matter where you are, pray for each other.

In summary, to say goodbye well,
Jesus teaches us to console, encourage and pray for each other.

I end a prayer.

Abba, I ask in the name of your Son, Jesus,
that you protect my religious brothers and everyone here
from all temptations and dangers in their travels.
Whomever they meet on the way,
may they console, encourage and pray for them.
I place all of them in the hands of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
so that the Spirit may carry them to Jesus and to you, Abba.
In your hand, no one will snatch them away.

Amen.

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