20 May 2015
When Saint Pope John XXIII went to bed every night, he’s known to have said in prayer: “Well, I did the best I could. . . . It’s your Church, Lord! I’m going to bed. Good night.” That doesn’t mean he didn’t care about the Church. On the contrary, he cared enough to realize that God is God, not him. What a better place to lay all the troubles, concerns, and happenings of the Church than into the hands of God.
That’s what St. Paul did when he left the Church in Ephesus. And what a beautiful line from him we hear today: “And now I commend you to God and to that gracious word of his that can build you up.” Those are words of faith and hope. And what a way to love someone: to pray for them, to entrust them to the good will of God.
Even Jesus—the Son of God—didn’t try to be the eternal Father to his followers. Instead, he prayed that the Father might “keep them in his name,” and be a Father to them as he is to the Son. And so, every time we pray the Our Father, we can really pray “our Father.” And we can call him that because Jesus loved us enough to leave us in the Father’s care.
And so, when we try to evangelize, when we try to invite others into God’s ways, the most loving thing we can do is to leave them in the hands of God. We do the best we can to share the Gospel of peace, forgiveness, and mercy. We do the best we can to help build the Church. But, at the end of the day, the most loving thing we can do is let God take it.
It’s a sign of faith, hope, and charity to be able to say to others: “And now I commend you to God.” “I did the best I could. . . . It’s your Church, Lord! I’m going to bed.”