Thursday, May 5 ~ Sixth Week in the Season of Easter
Holy Gospel: John 16:16-20 Jesus said to his disciples: “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.” So some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.” Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”
Meditation: The world says take your joy now in whatever pleasures you can get from this present life – “eat, drink and be merry” as the saying goes. Jesus points to an “other-worldly” joy which transcends anything this world can offer. Jesus contrasts present sorrows with future joy. A woman in labor suffers the birth-pangs first, but then forgets her sorrow as soon as her new-born child comes to birth. We cannot avoid pain and sorrow if we wish to follow Jesus to the cross. But in the cross of Christ we find freedom, victory, and joy. It was Saint Thomas Aquinas who said: “No one can live without joy. That is why a man or woman deprived of spiritual joy will turn to carnal pleasures.” Do you know the joy of the Lord?
Prayer: O God, who made your people partakers in your redemption, grant, we pray, that we may perpetually render thanks for the Resurrection of the Lord. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: How do “weeping” and “rejoicing” go together? Jesus contrasts present sorrows with the future glory to be revealed to those who put their hope in God. For the people of Israel time was divided into two ages – the present age and the age to come. The prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah as the dawn of a new age. Jesus tells his disciples two important truths. First, he must leave them to return to his Father and second, he will surely come again at the end of time to usher in the new age of God’s kingdom. Jesus’ orientation for the time between his first coming and his return in glory at the end of the world is a reversal of the world’s fortunes. Do you weep and rejoice in the Lord?