Memorial of St. Justin, Martyr
June 1, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, Jesus and Paul continue their heart-wrenching farewell addresses.
We’ve become accustomed to the passages and may read them without much emotional investment, but honestly they are real “weepers” – like movies where you have to bite the edge of your popcorn cup to keep from sobbing out loud.
Look at Acts, for example, and put yourself in the scene:
When Paul had finished speakingActs 20: 36-38
he knelt down and prayed with them all.
They were all weeping loudly
as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him,
for they were deeply distressed that he had said
that they would never see his face again.
Then they escorted him to the ship.
The verses from John are not quite so emotional, but picture yourself being prayed over like this. You sense that this is really a final blessing. You know these may be some of Christ’s last words you will ever hear.
Holy Father, keep them in your nameJohn 17: 11
that you have given me,
so that they may be one just as we are one.
As we pray with today’s scriptures,
we are reminded that
goodbyes are awfully hard.
We need to mourn them
within a community of faith
lest our hearts break
from their weight.
So many of us, in these sorrowful times, feel the deep pain of those suffering senseless violence and unprovoked war. We can only imagine the loss of bereaved families in Buffalo, NY and devastated parents and children in Uvalde, TX. We feel anger and horror at the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
In the throes of such pain, we need to tell one another the stories of our loved ones, to sing together our belief in eternal life, to prove that we can still find joy in kept memories, to cry at the sight of one another’s tears, and to act for justice in the name of one another’s suffering. This is what Jesus did.
Let us find courage and sustaining hope in the core of Jesus’s message today:
Father, now I am coming to you.
I speak this in the world
so that those you have given me
may share my joy completely.
All that we love, and may seem to have lost, is preserved and transformed – complete and joyful – in the infinite love of God.
We too can be there in our prayer. We may be shaken by loss, but we are confident in faith. We know and believe that we are all kept in God’s Name. That faith gives us the power to transform our wounded world.
Poetry: Hymn for the Hurting – By Amanda Gorman
Ms. Gorman is a poet and the author of “The Hill We Climb,” “Call Us What We Carry” and “Change Sings.”
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
And yet none of it is new;
We knew it as home,
Even our children
Cannot be children,
It’s a hard time to be alive,
And even harder to stay that way.
We’re burdened to live out these days,
While at the same time, blessed to outlive them.
This alarm is how we know
We must be altered —
That we must differ or die,
That we must triumph or try.
Thus while hate cannot be terminated,
It can be transformed
Into a love that lets us live.
May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost.
Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.
Music: Aaronic Benediction – Misha and Marty Goetz