HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE 6TH WEEK OF EASTER
THEME: Good Grief
BY: Deacon Bill Frere
HOMILY FOR TUESDAY MAY 24 2022
Gospel – John 16:5-11
30 years ago, I was standing by the bedside of my dear friend, Don. He had been waging a long-term battle with cancer and today was the day I gathered with his wife and 3 little girls to say our last goodbye. There are no words possible to encompass all the conflicting emotions we felt as we stood there holding hands. Tears were abundant and words were few! But the grief, the sadness, the loss and the very real pain of realization that this was his last moments here on earth – that was almost unbearable! I would not wish that experience on anyone. And yet most of us have probably had that memory and still carry the sorrow with us even today.
I wonder how much the Apostles felt something similar in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus has just told them He is leaving; it is clear that they understood He was referring to His coming death. And as Jesus says, grief has filled their hearts! Unimaginable grief! After 3 years of journeying with Him throughout Judaea and Galilee, after hearing His words and witnessing His works of wonder, the reality is setting in! Jesus is leaving this life and returning to the Father.
Over the last few days, Jesus has reminded them to not be afraid, to be at peace, to trust that the Advocate will be coming! So the question for us is clear: how do we handle the reality of death? How do we grapple with grief? Do we trust that the Advocate will come? Do we trust Jesus’ words of peace? Do we temper our fear of the unknown with faith in the resurrection? In the midst of our tears and sorrow and loss, do we take to heart Jesus’ words? Be Not Afraid!
“May our farewells express our affection for the departed, may it ease our sadness and strengthen our hope. One day we shall joyfully greet them again when the love of Christ, which conquers all things, destroys even death itself.”
Deacon Bill Frere