Eileen Young of Salem, MA reflects on the promise delivered in
Matthew 28:20: “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of
I Am With You Always
January 14, 2011
hear someone say they will be with you is powerful.
A young child’s fear on the first day of school is calmed
by a parent’s promise to be right there with them at the end of
the school day. When we
are afraid the presence of another is comforting.
To be accompanied is thus a human need, since one is so
often alone. The promise
to “be with” may be sincere, but hardly without limits.
I had a clarinet teacher I adored and valued as a friend
throughout high school.
Yet for the two most important events of my musical career he
was absent. The first
was District band qualifying auditions, and the other my college
senior recital. I
survived and won the hoped-for results in both.
On the night before my wedding I invited
my dad out on a dinner date for an intimate father-daughter
farewell. I envisioned
how wonderful it would be to have him with me to grieve this
last night under his roof.
Instead, with my entree, I got a stern lecture on
fidelity and my duty as a Catholic to bear children.
I was disappointed and left without adequate closure-or
at least without the fairy tale ending I had envisioned.
The following day’s wedding joined me to the love of my
life even though the tenderness of being given away by Dad was
less than expected.
A few years earlier when my favorite had
grandparent died, I lost my mentor and confidant.
My paternal grandmother was to me the embodiment of all I
wished my parents could have been for me.
We were there for each other and eased each other’s
young adulthood would have been easier with her by my side.
A reflection by Oswald Chambers on
Matthew 28 interprets Jesus as charging the disciples to teach
and preach as witnesses to their lived experiences of him.
For Chambers this promise of Jesus assures us that even
in situations of human absence... “where we are placed is a
matter of indifference; God engineers the goings.” (My Utmost
for His Highest).
“I will be with you
Although no human can fulfill that promise, in faith we
believe the words of Jesus and are sustained.
Are we meant to bury ourselves in the Bible and declare
Jesus as our only companion?
I don’t think so.
But I do believe that, in faith, the words of Jesus matter.
We are called both to embrace the promise and to embody
these words to the best of our ability.