Cherishing life, Accepting Death is the title of this year’s DAY FOR LIFE, an appropriate theme as we ponder the prospect of the Assisted Dying Bill to be debated by Parliament on 11th September.
Preaching at Mass earlier in the year, Pope Francis said, “The two texts in the day’s liturgy (Acts 20:17-27 & John 17:1-11) say the word ‘goodbye’: Paul entrusts his own to God, and Jesus entrusts his disciples to the Father”
Before the images of Paul who weeps, kneeling on the beach and that of Jesus weeping in his heart as he leaves his disciples, Pope Francis recommended that we reflect on ourselves and ask ourselves: “who will be the person to close my eyes? What will I leave?”
He 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 which ‘see you later’, ‘see you soon’, ‘see you tomorrow’, ‘until we meet again’ will become our final ‘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”.
He concluded, “let us commemorate Jesus’ goodbye as we pray “that Jesus, died and risen, will send us the Holy Spirit so that we learn this word, learn to say with all our strength this last word: ‘goodbye’”. The moment of that utterance we leave in God’s hands.
Despite the distraction of the holidays please do remember to contact your MP asking them not to vote for the Assisted Dying Bill.