The Word of God

Such Sweet Sorrow

Reflection on Mass Reading for May 21, 2020

“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I’ll say good night until tonight becomes tomorrow.” – Shakespeare, (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2, Line 185) “When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight.” How can separation and painful longing be good? Perhaps we could also remember the adage that is repeated a million times all over the globe which states emphatically that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Is that true? Because of our weakened humanity always longing for things that will never disappoint, anger or end, we can see how separation allows us to be much more aware and grateful of the people and the things around us. Think of the COVID-19 patient in a cold, removed hospital room who misses the outdoors. Then imagine the first day out of the hospital. What joy it would be!

And there is yet another sweetening factor here: “May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones.” Please realize today and for the rest of our tomorrows what access we have been given after the Ascension and in the power of the Holy Spirit coming at Pentecost. We can and must ask God for all of our needs with the assurance and confidence that the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus has given us. “Ask and you will receive” is better than all the promises of the world combined! That is why the parting of Christ at the Ascension is such sweet sorrow.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” A.A. Milne

“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” Helen Keller

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