Drug and Alcohol Task Force Leadership Meeting
Saint Paul: Truth or Tact?

Farewell But Not Forever

Today's Lectionary Readings

Two farewells are related in today's readings: Paul's departure from the Ephesians and Jesus' High Priestly Prayer anticipating his passion, death and resurrection. Both are poignant and sad. But it's reassuring to know that no Christian farewell, the little daily ones or the final one at our death, lasts forever.

The very best of Christian leave-taking allows room for the grief and sadness even while supported by faith in eternal life. The manner in which our funeral rites are celebrated seems to have struck a balance between the stark solemnity and judgement-fearing funerals of pre-Vatican II days and the celebratory, dutifully joyful funerals immediately following the Council. Now there is room for grief and mourning in a context of hope and faith. Tears and sadness are a true expression of the human condition and not necessarily a betrayal of our faith in eternal life; they are not out of place, they are perfectly in context.

As one of the Eucharist prayers for funerals affirms, "life is changed, not ended." Farewell, but not forever.