Pope Francis

Pope Francis reflects on the "final farewell"

29/06/2015 6:58 pm

Pope Francis prays after giving an address

Pope Francis used his reflection at Mass in the chapel at Casa Santa Marta on 19 May 2015, to talk about the ultimate meaning of every farewell – great or small.

During this reflection, the Holy Father talked about the final farewell “when the Lord calls us to the other side”:

“These great farewells of life, also the last one, are not farewells which conclude with ‘see you soon, see you later, until we meet again’.

“They are not farewells in which one knows he is returning either right away or in a week.

“Instead, with grand farewells, one neither knows when nor how the return may be.”


Reading: Acts of the Apostles 20:17-27
Paul’s farewell

Gospel: John 17:1-11
The prayer of Jesus for those he must leave behind

“The two texts in the day’s liturgy say the word ‘goodbye’: Paul entrusts his own to God, and Jesus entrusts to the Father his disciples, who remain in the world. It is entrusting to the Father, entrusting to God which is the origin of the word ‘goodbye’. In fact we say ‘goodbye’ only in the great farewells, whether those of life, or the final one.

Before the icon of Paul who weeps, kneeling on the beach and the icon of Jesus, sad for he is going to his Passion, with his disciples, weeping in his heart, Pope Francis recommended that we “reflect on ourselves: it will do us good”. And that we ask ourselves: “who will be the person to close my eyes? What will I leave?”

The Pope noted:

“Paul and Jesus, in these passages, both do an examination of conscience: ‘I have done this, this and this’. And thus it is good to ask oneself, in a sort of examination of conscience: ‘What have I done?’. And to do so with the awareness that it is good for me to imagine myself at that moment, one never knows when, in which ‘see you later’, ‘see you soon’, ‘see you tomorrow’, ‘until we meet again’ will become ‘goodbye’”.

The Holy Father then invited further reflection:

“Am I prepared to entrust to God all of my loved ones? To entrust myself to God? To say that word which is the Son’s word of entrustment to the Father?”.

Pope Francis also encouraged us to find a little time to read Chapter 16 of the Gospel according to John or Chapter 19 of the Acts of the Apostles. These are “the farewell of Jesus and the farewell of Paul”.

“In the light of these very texts, it is important to think that one day I too will have to say that word: ‘goodbye’.

“To God I entrust my soul; to God I entrust my history; to God I entrust my loved ones; to God I entrust all”.

“Now”, the Pope concluded, “let us commemorate Jesus’ goodbye, Jesus’ death”. And he prayed “that Jesus, died and risen, will send us the Holy Spirit so that we learn this word, learn to say it existentially, with all our strength: the last word: ‘goodbye’”.


Adapted from an article on news.va