I can still feel the pain of learning that a close friend of mine had died by suicide. He has had such a challenging life. Even while I will never fully understand the extent and duration of his pain, I am aware that he went through a lot to get to that point. I was undoubtedly unprepared.

The gospel today recounts the farewell discourse of Jesus at the Last Supper. Apparently, he was preparing his disciples for his departure. He wished for them to have hope and trust in him. He empowered them to be witnesses of his compassion and mercy because he wanted to make sure that they could continue and move forward despite his physical absence. Indeed, it was a solace in advance of his departure. The apostles, on the other hand, were apprehensive and concerned about what lay ahead without their Master. Hearing that Jesus was leaving them must have scared them beyond belief. But Jesus’ advice to them was to “not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God and believe also in me” always gave them comfort. Jesus reminds them of the importance of trust in relationships and tells them that he is not abandoning them but rather wants to stay with them forever. “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you”; Jesus says, “If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” Is there anything more comforting than that? This remark provides hope and comfort to those who feel alone, isolated, and dejected.

I constantly feel something that prevents me from exclaiming, “What a loss!”; when I think of that friend of mine who passed away and all his positive traits that could have allowed him to be successful and happy in life. His death allowed me to understand that time is of the essence and I must make the most of the present. It gives me courage to view death as something beautiful and be filled with hope that it is the door to heaven. Even though I occasionally feel intimidated and puzzled by life, I know that Jesus never changes. “The Way, the Truth, and Life”; is what He is. Currently, whenever I experience difficulties, feel depressed and disheartened about life, or become weary of the “sighs and mourning of this valley of tears”, I look up at the sky or gaze at the moon and remind myself that hope is alive and that Jesus, with my good friend, is preparing my place in heaven.