by Jose Joel Robles
“Shall the day of parting be the day of gathering?” Kahlil Gibran asked a similar question today as one shepherd leaves the flock. Parting hurts… and more painful when the one who departs is a friend, or a brother, or someone who laughs, celebrates, eats, and cries with us. The assembly speaks about your worth in our hearts. A temptation sprouts to whisper you to stay, to lengthen our way. Now, we understand that you’re a priest— called to shepherd the lost, the last, the least. A part of your calling, the admission of your vows. This is always real… This is always true despite drops of tears. What consoles us? You’re leaving now for the greater purpose, for the mission, for the good of the Church. This is not about us. This is about God and His plans. Take the first steps forward and bring with you our wishes and hopes: to continue being a good priest, to include this community in your prayers, and, most importantly, to meet us again someday. God bless you always.
While teaching Religious Studies to senior high students at Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan in the Philippines, Jose Joel Robles loves to write poems and stories. As a husband and a father of one, he utilizes some of his spare time for writing. His published pieces appeared in Teach. Write., Anak Sastra 47, 50-word stories, and Organic Ink: Volume 5 by Dragon Soul Press (forthcoming).