Time to say “Goodbye”

Homily at St Dyfrig’s for Ascension Sunday, 2012 – World Communications Day

This weekend at St Dyfrig’s, there will be a mission appeal at the end of Mass from a Comboni Sister. This week’s priestly homily is therefore a very short reflection.

There are times in life when we have to say “Goodbye”. This month, students at the University of Glamorgan will be bidding farewell to classmates. In July, school pupils will be preparing to move from primary school to secondary, or on to college. And at any time of life, we may have to say “Goodbye” to our friends for reasons of marriage, work or health.

It is important to recognise that an ending is coming, and make good use of it. Friends spending a day together might hug at the end, though they would not dream of cuddling otherwise. A fond farewell can be a precious memory which lasts a lifetime; an awkward farewell can sour the memory of a good relationship.

A time of parting is a moment when it becomes appropriate to let down our guard, to express love in a deeper way then we do in our ongoing relationships. I have always cherished the memory of a day after my final exams as an undergraduate, when I took a walk in the park with a close friend and we found ourselves holding hands. She was never my girlfriend, but because it was a parting, there was something beautiful and appropriate about a moment of closeness before we went our separate ways. On the other hand, when I finished a gap year working in an office, a close colleague had left me a note: “All the best – I find partings difficult.” She had chosen her way to say goodbye but deprived me of the opportunity to communicate my love to her in person.

As members of the Body of Christ, called to be love in the world, we should not miss the opportunity to communicate love. The Lord’s relationship with his chosen disciples changed radically on that day when he ceased appearing to them and ascended into heaven; he quite deliberately left them with some final instructions and a promise that their relationship was changed, not ended. If one or more of your relationships is about to require a parting, don’t leave the ending to chance – plan now to communicate love. For what will be more precious for your friend than a parting message that they are loved, appreciated, and cherished by you?

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