Jesus compares himself to a hen, who gathers her little chickens under her wings for protection. What a beautiful image of loving concern for those who need to be gathered together in an embrace of comfort and security. We are all searching for that which will bring us inner security and calm... an anchor of love.
As we search for this inner embrace of God, we oftentimes look on the outside for this stability. We look for and search for the right partner, spouse, friend who will complete us. Our reliance on people to provide us with inner security will always leave us disappointed and discouraged. Relationships are essential and important for our well being, but we all have a “friend” in Christ who NEVER leaves us...one who loves unconditionally. When our relationships are rooted in Christ, they truly are life giving and joyous precisely because they are gifts given to us by God. These gifts of people we love must ultimately be returned back to the Giver. We do not own, nor possess, those we love.
All relationships in this life come to an end and the letting go is a painful process. Clinging endlessly only makes the suffering worse. With every goodbye we make, somewhere out there is a “hello” waiting to happen. We forge forward, keep moving forward as Jesus said in today’s gospel, that he needed to keep going on to Jerusalem where he wound face his death.
We move forward in life on a journey. Yes, there is a destination, a place of lasting peace and joy. We keep moving forward, letting go, grieving, welcoming new life. In the end, Christ will gather us together like a mother hen under the wings of an embrace that never ends. And there will be no more goodbyes...