Our gospel is part of Jesus Farewell Discourse, a literary form common in the ancient world in which a great figure gives a final speech to those who are close to him: for example, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Tobit, Noah, Abraham, Rebecca, Enoch, Ezra, and Baruch. The great figure tells of his impending death and in some cases offers comfort in the face of the grief this announcement produces. He predicts what will come in the future, including, in different cases, evil or God's care.
This is in keeping with the belief in ancient times that one about to die is given prophetic powers. In our gospel passage, Jesus talks about his glorification, his departure, and the commandment of love. May the Lord help us to be witnesses of his glorification, his ascension, and his love by the way we live and love! Speaking of farewells, let me tell you a short story. Two years ago when I learned I was coming to Christ the King Parish, I was excited and one fellow priest saw me and told me, “Well, don’t get too excited, Long Branch is not heaven.” I replied, “Well it is not hell either.” Then we look at each other and said, “So it’s probably purgatory!” We couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, we were teasing.
My dear brethren, I really enjoyed being here. I thank you for your kindness and for sharing your faith with me. Please say a prayer for me and my family. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless you all! Hasta la vista!